divorced dad

Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do?

divorced dad

 

My Facebook feed is filled with divorced or almost divorced women turning to each other for support and there is one thing you won’t find on there:

Men.

Single dads and divorced dads are not gathering in tribes on social media boards or in person to chat about their plight and experience with divorce even if they want to.

Why not?

Why Divorced Dads Don’t Turn to Each Other for Support

A study published in 2000 in the Psychological Review, showed that stressed women “tend and befriend” while men go for the “fight or flight” option. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact that when stressed, men’s brains omit less oxytocin, that feel-good love hormone than women. And according to statistics produced by the American Psychological association in 2011, women (70%) are more apt to do something to reduce their stress than men (50%) are.

No matter which way we slice it, research shows that men tend to go the solo route when it comes to working through stress while women look for company along the way.

Men don’t want to raise their hands and say, “Hey everyone, my life sucks,” or “I miss my ex-wife,” or “It’s really hard raising kids in a single-parent home.”

Doing that would mean admitting pain and hardship, something that isn’t considered a masculine trait and let’s face it, while women have been the oppressed gender from the start, men also suffer from unfair stereotypes and expectations. Men aren’t oppressed, they are REPRESSED emotionally!

It’s not OK for a man to cry.

Be a man, suck it up.

You’ve heard those phrases tossed around and so have I.

We tell men to be brave and strong and to keep a straight face. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for grief and sadness.

So it isn’t surprising then that single dads and divorced men are not looking for a support group, but to me, this limits divorced men and single dads from moving past divorce in a healthy way.

If men could form groups or did form groups, it could help them grieve divorce and learn new parenting strategies from other dads. If a man did reach out to another man to say, “Hey, how did you find a good custody schedule,” or “Is mediation the better route?” it would be beneficial for that divorcing dad.

Going solo on such a huge adventure like becoming a divorced, single dad seems risky, from my female-wired brain. It could also be the reason men seem to jump into new relationships, faster.

A new partner might just be the divorced man’s support group, but that is problematic too. Someone you’re romantically interested in shouldn’t be a springboard for grief and renewal.

So for all the divorced dads out there, why not see befriending or growing your support network of other divorced and single dads in a different light, rather than seeing it as a “b*tch fest” or gathering like a group of old ladies?

See reaching out for support as a:

  • Chance to network: Maybe your new friends will have good business contacts or even better, cute single female friends.
  • Chance to mentor: If you’re a single dad mentoring a man who’s going through the divorce process, you can be a father figure to someone going through the experience—an adoptive son or little brother, as it were.
  • Chance to learn from others: Use your man brain and be logical: someone who has been there or done that will know certain pitfalls to avoid as you go through the divorce process that you wouldn’t have known without asking someone in the “know.”

To all the divorced dads or “going through a divorce” dads, why not do things a little differently in your life this time around? Making contacts and building a support network isn’t just for women. It’s for smart people who want to make a huge life adjustment a bit easier or in other words, it’s for you!

The post Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Vital Takeaways from Jeff Bezos’s High-Net-Worth Divorce

Vital Takeaways from Jeff Bezos’s High-Net-Worth Divorce

The dust has now settled on Jeff Bezos’s high-profile divorce, and it’s not only provided the public with a behind-the-scenes look at the life of the world’s richest man but also an insight into the ins and outs of high-net-worth divorce cases.

The post Vital Takeaways from Jeff Bezos’s High-Net-Worth Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Texas Court Includes Father’s Personal Injury Annuity in Resources When Calculating Child Support

Texas Court Includes Father’s Personal Injury Annuity in Resources When Calculating Child Support

Originally published by Kelly McClure.

By

The Texas Family Code provides guidelines to assist courts in calculating child support that are based on a percentage of the parent’s net monthly resources.  The statute sets forth what types of income are included and excluded from the parent’s net monthly resources.  In many families, it is fairly straight-forward to determine what is included in the calculation.  If a parent’s only income is from the wage or salary he or she earns from employment, it is relatively simple to identify the net monthly resources.  Some families, however, have more complicated financial circumstances making it less clear what should be included.

In a recent case, a father appealed the inclusion of an annuity payment in his net monthly resources for purposes of the child support calculation.  Prior to the marriage, the father settled a claim for a work-related accident with his employer.  As a result of the settlement, the father receives $6,970 per month from an annuity.  The payments will continue until either the the father’s death or June 1, 2044.

The couple had one child during the marriage.  The mother filed for divorce less than a year after the couple was married.  Although the couple reached agreement on some issues, they were unable to agree on child support and medical support.  The trial court found the annuity payments were “resources” under Texas Family Code 154.062 and included them in the father’s resources when calculating the child and medical support payments.

 

The father appealed, arguing the trial court erred in including the annuity payments in his net resources and therefore erred in calculating the amount of child support and medical support.  The appeals court considered the plain language of the statute defining resources.  The statute specifically addresses annuities, stating, “Resources include…all other income actually being received, including… annuities…”  Although previous cases distinguished between settlement annuities and other types of annuities, the appeals court declined to draw such a distinction.  The appeals court pointed out that the statute included “annuities” within “resources,” and did not differentiate between types of annuities.  Furthermore, the statutory language did not differentiate between the portion of the annuity payment representing repayment of premiums and the portion that represented earned interest.  The appeals court therefore found no error in the trial court including the full amount of the monthly annuity payment in the father’s resources.

The appeals court in this case found that the entire annuity payment could be included in the parent’s net monthly resources.  However, this holding is inconsistent with the previous holding of another Texas appeals court.  Although the language in the statute provides that annuities are included in net monthly resources, there is also language stating that the “return of principal” is not included.  The issue, therefore, may not be completely settled.  Different facts or a different court could lead to a different result.  If you are anticipating a child support dispute involving an annuity, the skilled child support attorneys at McClure Law Group can help.  Call us at 214.692.8200 to schedule an appointment to talk about your case.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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Take the High Road for Thanksgiving After Divorce

Take the High Road for Thanksgiving After Divorce

For children caught in the crossfire of custody disputes, holidays can become a nightmare, not a time of joy. Parents owe it to their children to do the right thing. It starts with recognizing the importance of holidays in children’s lives.

The post Take the High Road for Thanksgiving After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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divorcing a control freak

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

divorcing a control freak

 

I had never considered my husband a control freak. But as we were ending our marriage, I saw his need to control blossom into something ugly.

At that point, I reflected back over our marriage (for the millionth time?) and realized it had been there all along. I think I had largely overlooked it because I just wanted to get along.

Plus there were other hurtful behaviors that actually trumped this one.

Our divorce kicked off with some controlling behavior. What I had hoped would be a dissolution upgraded to a divorce when my husband sent the Sheriff to our home to serve me with divorce papers.

In those papers were restraining orders. He was trying to prevent me from accepting a job in my hometown. It was the best job opportunity that I could’ve received at that time. Many years ago, we had jointly decided that he would financially support our family while I basically stayed home with our four children.

But when the divorce started, he shut down all of my access to our finances. Then he tried to block my ability to provide for myself and the children. I was in an impossible spot, and needed solutions. Eventually, I came up with six strategies to handle divorcing a control freak.

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

1. Limit his opportunities to control. I created an email account just for him and refused to communicate with him in any other way. I informed him that I would no longer speak with him in person, nor would I answer his texts. If he needed to give me information quickly (maybe running late to pick up the kids), he could text someone in my support system and they would immediately let me know. The email account was actually my attorney’s idea. It limited my ex’s ability to control me and made a permanent record out of everything he said.

Along that same vein…

2. Create witnesses. After I made an email account just for him, I realized I could improve upon the idea even further. I made sure he knew that I would not be reading his emails. The people who supported me took turns reading emails from my ex. They only passed along the information that I actually needed to know, usually details about the kids.

I was never made aware of the drama, threats or speeches. My ex was intensely upset about this, but I stuck with it. I cannot even express how much stress this lifted from me. And yes, I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have such a wonderful support system!

3. Move, if you can. This was a tricky situation because my attorney and I decided that I would drop all of the kids off at their father’s new place, and then I’d move to my hometown. Their father had never wanted to be involved in parenting, and I knew that among other issues, the children would get really upset by his parenting and personality.

Within two weeks, all four of the children had found a way to move out of their dad’s home. Thankfully, the courts later interviewed all of them and allowed the children to move so they could live with me. The kids had been so understanding, but this calculated risk frightened me and filled me with guilt. The move was for a job opportunity and creating a better life for the kids and me. But it also ended up playing a significant role in my healing and creating boundaries. I believe it saved me.

4. Document. It felt like I would be stooping so low to record or videotape my ex, even though he was consistently doing that to me. But one day he called the police on me because our son rode the school bus to where his Pappaw was instead of where his father lived.

Once the officer understood how upset the children were, he explained that it could really help the kids and me if I were to record them being forced to visit their dad. Once my ex understood that I would be openly recording, he backed off on forcing visits. (Disclaimer: If children can be/feel healthy in their relationships with BOTH parents, I believe this is best. I don’t want to sound anti-dad. I’ve met some men that are amazing dads!)

5. Neutral territory. Two of our children visit with their father, and whenever we exchanged the children I insisted that we do so in a very public location. I had noticed that my ex’s controlling behavior was always bolder when we were at our homes or another private place. I’m very lucky because my father usually offers to do pick-ups/drop-offs. Pappaw has clocked in some major hours driving the 90-minute trek to my ex’s house with some very precious cargo.

6. My life is no longer his business. I stopped posting on social media for a few years. When I returned, I thinned down my friend count to remove anyone who was also a friend of my ex’s. As far as I know, the children feel pretty protective of me and never mention me or details of my life to their dad. He has tried to come into my home to use the bathroom, but I’m not comfortable with this (there is a nice Subway and gas station just two blocks away). In the past, he has gone through my belongings, and he’s been known to take pictures. I believe the less he knows about me, the less opportunity he has to control me.

There are almost always better ways to handle relationship issues than with control and force. Where’s the finesse, patience, compromise, and understanding? We have the right to be treated with respect. Plus, when we do stand up for ourselves, the other person has an opportunity to self-correct – if they are able. If they are allowed to treat us unfairly, they aren’t going to have an impetus to change. But if this best-case scenario doesn’t work out, and they still remain control-freaks, at least you’ve established some healthy boundaries for yourself.

The post 6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Divorce Based on Abandonment in Texas

Originally published by Family and Criminal Law Blog.

Why might I choose to file for divorce based on a fault ground?

Forty years ago, the first no-fault divorce was granted in California. Prior to this time, couples seeking a divorce were required to list a valid ground for divorce, which often included adultery, abandonment, and cruelty. If one of these grounds did not exist in the marriage, but the spouses nonetheless wanted a divorce, they were forced to fabricate a grounds for divorce. Recognizing a need for more honest and efficient divorces, California, and soon after every state in the union except for New York, adopted a version of no-fault divorce.

Most couples in Texas looking to file for divorce today will file for a no-fault divorce, in which the parties will list that the marriage cannot continue because the spouses can no longer get along in the marriage and there is no chance of reconciliation. However, per Texas law, several fault grounds for divorce continue to exist. At times, it can be advantageous or even necessary for a spouse to seek a divorce based upon one of these fault grounds. Below, our Midland, Texas divorce lawyers discuss divorce based on abandonment in the state.

Abandonment Can Influence a Custody Award and Division of Assets

Abandonment occurs when one spouse deserts the other spouse with the intention to end the marriage. Proving abandonment by your spouse can influence the court’s decisions when it comes to custody of your minor children. To successfully demonstrate abandonment, you will need to show that your spouse has been absent for one year or more. Further, filing for divorce based on abandonment might become essential if you cannot reach your spouse.

Family courts in Texas take the position that generally it is in a child’s best interests to have a relationship with both parents. However, where one spouse has abandoned the family, this will negate that presumption. A judge weighing the custodial rights of a spouse who left his or her family is less likely to award joint custody and will likely allow for just limited visitation.

Further, a judge may take your spouse’s abandonment into account when determining how your marital assets will be divided. Texas is a community property state and marital assets will be divided in accordance with what is just and right. While this typically means equally, where one spouse abandoned the family, a judge may be included to issue the other spouse a disproportionate share of the assets. Your divorce lawyer will review the circumstances surrounding your spouse’s abandonment to determine your best bet in filing for divorce from your spouse. Armed with full knowledge of your individual situation, your attorney can develop a divorce strategy that will benefit you and your family.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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taking control of your divorce

Taking Control Of Your Divorce: Shouldn’t You Be In The Driver’s Seat?

taking control of your divorce

 

“He left with no notice. I had no idea he even wanted a divorce but I will be fine. I’ve hired a divorce attorney, one with vast experience in family law and I know he will take care of me and my legal rights.”

I recently heard these words from a therapy client I’m working with. She has an attorney and, in her mind, she will be “fine.” It’s a thought process shared by many going through the divorce process. It is also the first mistake most couples going through a divorce make.

Giving over control of their welfare to someone who isn’t an expert in them and their needs.

Divorce attorneys are experts in family law. They are not experts in finance, real estate, taxes, insurance, disabilities and any other issue that may be particular to your case. They are not experts trained in how to handle the personal needs of every divorcing client they contract with.

Every divorce has its own particular issues and if you, the client isn’t in the driver’s seat your future may wind up in the ditch.

In your everyday life, how often do you give over control of how your day goes to someone else? You don’t do it in everyday life, and you shouldn’t do it during divorce. To do so will mean negative consequences for you, your spouse and your children.

The LAST thing you want is a divorce attorney and Family Court judge deciding how you will live your life once the ink dries on the divorce decree.

Taking Control Of Your Divorce

Why People Give Up Control:

It’s a story I hear often. Someone has been left due to infidelity or, one or the other spouse drop the divorce bomb unexpectedly. People become angry, afraid and out to exact revenge and lose the ability to act in their own best interest.

They hire a divorce attorney; one they believe will be sympathetic to what they are experiencing and they wait for their “day in court.” In other words, most people give up control to an attorney because they are under the assumption that fairness wins out in Family Court.

If a divorce case goes to court a judge will make decisions on legally relevant facts of the case and not on what is important to you, the litigant, or what you think is right and wrong.

How To Stay In The Driver’s Seat:

1. Hire an attorney to advise you on the legal aspect of your case. Negotiate with your spouse on personal and financial issues that will affect you both post-divorce. As adults, you can drive the process and together decide what direction you go in with issues such as splitting marital assets, child custody and visitation and spousal support. It is possible to negotiate a fair divorce settlement without interference from your attorney or a Family Court judge.

2. If your attorney advises you on an issue you don’t have to take their advice. If your attorney suggests you accept a settlement offer that you don’t believe is in your best interest you have the right to explore other options. It isn’t uncommon for divorce attorneys to make mistakes or, encourage a client to accept a settlement that is not fair in an attempt to get the case off their desk. A divorce attorney is someone you consult with, they are not someone you have to allow to make decisions for you.

3. Seek outside help if you feel your attorney is in over their head. For example, if you and your spouse own a business you may want to hire a forensic accountant to advise you on how that marital asset should be split. There are many issues during divorce that may require input from an outside resource. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you aren’t sure and don’t be intimidated by an attorney who tries to limit your attempts to protect yourself.

4. Check your emotions! If you allow anger or hurt feelings to guide how you react to divorce you won’t make productive decisions. In other words, emotionally charged people rarely stay in the driver’s seat during divorce.

Take the high road, don’t allow your emotions to cause you to do anything that will one day reflect negatively upon you or have detrimental effects on your financial future.

The post Taking Control Of Your Divorce: Shouldn’t You Be In The Driver’s Seat? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Divorce: A Letter to Those Who Wished Me Well

Divorce: A Letter to Those Who Wished Me Well

Thanksgiving is coming, and although there are many posts about divorce and the holidays, there rarely seems to be any about the unknown well wisher. This Thanksgiving, I decided to address these true unsung heroes of the divorce world.

The post Divorce: A Letter to Those Who Wished Me Well appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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struggles of co-parenting

Do The Struggles Of Co-Parenting Ever End?

struggles of co-parenting

 

As a therapist and writer specializing in divorce, I’m often asked, “When does co-parenting get easier?” While there is no simple answer to this question, most experts probably agree that while families usually adapt to co-parenting over time, it never really gets easier. Most co-parenting arrangements, especially after an acrimonious split, can be exhausting and exasperating.

Put simply, the challenges change as children grow and develop. Consequently, it’s key for parents to keep in mind that the tools necessary to succeed need to be modified considerably as children age and mature.

Do The Struggles Of Co-Parenting Ever End?

Clearly, research by child development experts demonstrates numerous benefits to children when their living arrangements enable support from both parents. One reason is that parents who co-parent tend to experience lower conflict than those who have sole custody arrangements.

Studies show that conflict is what creates the most pain and anguish for children after parents’ split and that keeping parental disagreements to a minimum is a key aspect of helping kids become resilient.

Co-parenting, at its best, is a wonderful opportunity for children of divorce to have close to equal access to both parents – to feel it is okay to love both of their parents.  Dr. Joan Kelly, a renowned psychologist reminds us that the outcomes for children of divorce improve when they have positive bonds with both parents. These include better psychological and behavioral adjustment and enhanced academic performance.

However, few authors mention that while co-parenting is the best decision for children, it takes two special parents to navigate this arrangement over time. Interacting with each other at drop-offs, making shared decisions, or even speaking to an ex who you’d rather forget can be a challenge.

In order to succeed at co-parenting, it’s wise to be realistic about the difficulties that may arise as your kids go through childhood and adolescence. For instance, it might be hard to differentiate between the impact of your divorce and normal adolescent rebellion.

For instance, my two children spent close to equal time with both myself and their father until they reached adolescence when they both protested their schedule.  When my daughter was thirteen, after her father’s remarriage, she chooses to spend most overnights at my home, while her brother started spending more overnights at his father’s house because it was located near most of his friend’s homes.

Fortunately, my ex and I agreed that it was in their best interests to revise their schedule. As a result, our kids thrived as they felt their needs were being respected.

There are numerous benefits of co-parenting for kids:

Children will:

  1. Feel a sense of security. Children who maintain a close bond with both parents and are more likely to have higher self-esteem.
  2. Have better psychological adjustment into adulthood. My research shows that adults raised in divorced families report higher self-esteem and fewer trust issues if they had close to equal time with both parents.
  3. Grow up with a healthier template for seeing their parents cooperate. By cooperating with their other parent, you establish a life pattern that they can carry into their future.
  4. Have better problem-solving skills. Children and adolescents who witness their parents cooperate are more likely to learn how to effectively resolve problems themselves.

The key to successful co-parenting is to keep the focus on your children – and to maintain a cordial relationship with your ex-spouse. Most importantly, you want your children see that their parents are working together for their well-being. Never use them as messengers because when you ask them to tell their other parent something for you, it can make them feel stuck in the middle. It’s best to communicate directly with your ex and lessen the chances your children will experience loyalty conflicts.

The following are suggestions based on my own experience and advice from experts. First of all, it’s paramount that you gear your parenting plan to the age of your children and that it is consistent. Try to develop routines for them leaving and coming home when they are young. As they reach adolescence, they strive to be more flexible and adapt to their changing needs.

Tips to help kids live happily in two homes:

For children under age 10:

  1. Reassure them that they have two parents who love them. If they balk at going to their other parent’s home, you can say something like “Even though mom and dad aren’t married anymore we both still love you and are good parents.”
  2. Maintain a cordial, business-like relationship with your ex so that your children won’t feel intensely divided loyalties. It’s important not to express anger at your ex in front of your children so they don’t feel stuck in the middle
  3. Help your kids anticipate changes in their schedule. Planning ahead and helping them pack important possessions can benefit them. However, keep items to a bare minimum. Most parents prefer to have duplicate items for their kids on hand.
  4. Encourage your younger child to adhere to their parenting time schedule – being consistent with their schedule will help your kids feel secure. Younger children often benefit from avoiding frequent shifts between homes.
  5. Show enthusiasm about their visit with their other parent. It’s important to put your differences with your ex aside and to promote your children’s positive bond with them.

For children over age 10 – to young adulthood:

  1. Allow for flexibility in their schedule. At times, teens may have difficulty juggling their busy life with school, extracurricular activities, friends, and jobs if they start working.
  2. Encourage them to spend time with their friends and extended family (on both sides). Avoid giving them the impression that being with their friends is not as important as spending time with you.
  3. Plan activities with them that might include their friends at times – such as sporting events or movies. Encourage opportunities for them to bond with peers at both homes.
  4. Respect your teen’s need for autonomy and relatednessDr. Emery writes, “Teenagers naturally want more freedom, but they also want and need relationships with their parents, through your adolescent may be unwilling to admit this.”

Keep in mind that communicating with your former spouse is going to be necessary for the length of your children’s childhood into young adulthood. This may include special events, graduations – and perhaps even weddings.  It’s important to keep clear boundaries so that your children wouldn’t harbor fantasies that you will reconcile.

For the most part, this means less personal sharing and focusing on exchanging information, cooperation, and make good decisions about your children.

Finally, modeling cooperation and polite behavior set a positive tone for co-parenting. When children are confident of the love of both of their parents, they will adjust more easily to divorce. Keeping your differences with your ex away from your children will open up opportunities to move beyond divorce in the years to come. Ask yourself this question: how do you want your children to remember you and their childhood when they are adults?

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com

More From Terry

Fathers and Daughters: An essential bond After Divorce

Building Resiliency In Children After Divorce

The post Do The Struggles Of Co-Parenting Ever End? appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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7 Signs Your Marriage is Over, According to Expert

7 Signs Your Marriage is Over, According to Expert

One of the signs your marriage is over is if you constantly find yourself thinking about leaving your partner. That and these other 6 are sings it may be time to divorce.

The post 7 Signs Your Marriage is Over, According to Expert appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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