[M]aybe you haven’t gotten divorced, or you’ve just been served papers by your soon-to-be Ex. At this point, stop and carefully consider the cost of time, money and effort of getting divorced with children. Contested custody battles can take two to five years. Read that again: two to five years. This isn’t just a brief annoyance, and then you move on with your life.
At best, your life comes to a standstill. At worst, your life moves on without you. Your kids get bigger, older, go through all those major turning points that only happen once. And maybe you don’t get to be there. Maybe you get to see blurry webcam pictures of Stacy learning to walk. Jake has a man-to-man discussion about the birds and the bees with Mom’s new boyfriend.
Considering Divorce? Really Evaluate Your Marriage
Take a moment to contemplate what went wrong. An affair? You’ve met someone new? She has? Remember that the grass may be greener on the other side, but without your kids, the pasture is also a whole lot emptier. Are you really sure you can’t overcome whatever went wrong? Read The 5 Love Languages, give more Acts of Service, schedule a Quality Conversation for Thursday nights? Fix the toilet? Be nicer to her mother? Say you’re sorry for last spring break, and mean it?
Before you plunge yourself headlong into custody battles and court dates (remember these will be interfering with romantic dates), you’d better be able to say “We can’t seek counseling. We can’t do anything.”
Entering a divorce with kids, especially as a male, you’re entering into a very tough situation. It’s going to cost lots of money, lots of time, and you may or may not get total access to your kids. Can you save your marriage? Even as a custodial parent, your relationship with your kids will be completely different. As guys, we have a hard time assessing what’s about to happen to us and how we’re going to deal with it. We seem to think that if we move on, have another relationship, that everything will be better. But you’re going to fracture the relationship you have with your kids.
It’s Up to You to Change Your Life!
I’m stating it right here. You don’t get to go in blind or wearing rose-colored glasses. Life doesn’t work like The Parent Trap or Mrs. Doubtfire. No miracle is going to come in and fix everything. If something is going to get solved, it needs to be right now, by YOU.
Even if the relationship is unsalvageable, knowing the answer to the question of what went wrong is going to help you improve your relationships in the future. And IS it absolutely unsavable? Could I, if the world came to an end, figure out some way to amend relationships or get over my aversion to counseling, stop the affair, the drinking, forgive her for whatever? Yeah, okay, just had to ask that one more time. Don’t pull the trigger on the situation before you take stock of what you really have and really make aim at where you’re going.
Have you really counted the cost? What advice would you give before someone proceeds with divorce?