“Your objective is to avoid being on a string. The first step, I think, is to get over the fear of losing a man by confronting him. Just stop being afraid, already. The most successful people in this world recognize that taking chances to get what they want is much more productive than sitting around being too scared to take a shot. The same philosophy can be applied to dating: if putting your requirements on the table means you risk him walking away, it's a risk you have to take. Because that fear can trip you up every time; all too many of you let the guy get away with disrespecting you, putting in minimal effort and holding on to the commitment to you because you're afraid he's going to walk away and you'll be alone again. And we men? We recognize this and play on it, big time.” Steve Harvey, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment
Thinking like a man in divorce is just as important as it is in dating and relationships.
Men divorce better than women. For the most part, men are better able to
- Separate emotionally;
- Understand the family’s financial picture; and
- Reach agreements that are more convenient for them.
Women and mothers are less able to see and focus on the divorce and the facts as they exist right now, and instead of being present get caught up in everything that has happened that led to the divorce, their fears for the future of their family, and what everything will look like 10 years from now. Men are more present. Once resolved to getting divorce, my husband and father clients rarely live in regret or try to plan a for a future that does not yet exist. Stay in the Land of Is!
Divorce is the contractual division of assets, debts and family time. When women are better able to separate the emotional horror from the business transaction, the results are so different.
Even through divorce, the “man” of the house will often try and control the outcomes of the divorce by playing on her emotional strings, or attempting to control the bank accounts. Once I’ve trained my women clients to step away from the emotions of what is going on, the ability for him to control the situation is quickly stifled.
Women as the “Mama Bears” are the meanest, most protective and insanely jealous creatures imaginable. We do not want to share our children. We end up emotionally ruined trying to fight for a parenting plan that is often not realistic. Women will try and carve out parenting plans that have them doing extra school pickups, or leaving the schedule flexible in hopes of having more time with the kids when the ex isn’t available.
Men on the other hand, while usually equally interested in spending time with their children, know that the parenting plan – for the purposes of the business negotiation – is an equation of income + overnights = child support.
KNOW ALL OF THE FAMILY FINANCES:
To understand the money is to better understand and accept the difference between what you think you deserve and what you need to move forward.
Most of my male clients are on top of what amount is in what accounts, who is owed what, when were taxes paid and what was everyone’s income, how much is in savings and where they are invested. My women clients are often better with the monthly budget but are not always clear on the family’s full financial picture.
Women need to regularly look at accounts, credit card statements, investments, life insurance and health insurance policies, and be aware of your financial picture and budget before during and after divorce.
Marital finances are such a major issue through divorce that a new career has developed. Parties can now hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to assist with your financial disclosures, the best and worse case scenarios for debt and asset division and most importantly future budgets for both households with consideration of incomes, maintenance, child support and the family needs. I strongly suggest to parties that they meet together with a CDFA before spending more money on attorneys to fight about who should get what – accounts or debts you think may be better for you to take may not be after analyzing the entire family financial picture.
THINK OF YOURSELF MORE:
The final reason women should divorce more like men is probably the most difficult and yet the best reason. Men so much more often than women walk away with a parenting plan, an asset/debt division, and separation agreement that is more convenient for them.
One may ask why would the separation agreement your lawyer negotiated on your behalf be better for a man than a woman? Your lawyer works for you. I will advocate for my clients as much parenting time, as little debt and as many assets as I possibly can. However, wanting more parenting time often means compromising your career and employability; and less debt –at least in fair and equitable states that are not community property states – means less of the assets. Equal assets may sometimes mean less or no maintenance/alimony.
Men look at their income and budgets and savings/investments and know almost automatically what they should be able to pay in lump sum or monthly to get through the divorce. They proceed with the end in mind while women instead are often consumed with how it was and try to translate that into how it should be.
Men look at a calendar and know how much they want or have to work, how often they travel, when they like to “be social” and work their parenting plan around them instead of the kids. “She can have the rest.” RARELY – if ever - has a mother come to me with a similar idea of self. Then there are the men who look at the bottom line, negotiate and work for an equal parenting plan to have a lesser amount of child support ordered. After that there is often a change in his availability, leaving mom with less support and more time with the kids.
So, while we often hear, “men don’t cry” or “take it like a man,” I am here to tell you to at least think like a man through your divorce.
- Consider YOU in all of your decisions and agreements;
- Know your family’s financial picture or hire an expert to help you understand;
- Don’t let your emotions impede your ability to make good decisions for you & your family;
- Don’t let him control the negotiation and settlement of your divorce by playing your emotional strings or holding the bank accounts;
- Don’t just be selfish. Be confident and be completely focused on the moment at hand – not what was or what will be.