Tips for men on Divorce & Co-Parenting: 4 Guiding Principles – Written By Ray Arata

Rick and Mary were married for seven years. During that time, they had three children and renovated their house from the ground up. Rick experienced higher financial success each successive year & was clueless regarding the impact his work had on the state of his marriage. One day Mary shared with Rick she wasn’t happy in the marriage and it wasn’t long before divorce was mutually agreed upon.
While not every marriage ends this way, one thing is for certain: Difficult decisions around money need to be made, one’s that effect each party today as well as into the future .Even more important to know is that a collaborative process is available that benefits all parties involved.

Most men who go through a divorce waste lots of emotional energy, time, and money on attorneys . Many men are hurt emotionally and let their reactions drive their decisions and actions.  In addition, both parties ultimately give the power of making extremely important decisions that have long term effects to a judge, who in most instances  will make a decision that benefits no one person.Lets look at how Rick and Mary approached their dissolution as it may well serve you in your process.

Taking ownership for our part in the divorce
As  men we  can influence the dissolution process so that a more collaborative result can occur. Part of this process requires taking a deeper look our contribution to the demise of the relationship and taking responsibility for that. This means emotionally growing up. This goes a long way in avoiding the blame game. It might even rub off on your former spouse.Rick went to a men’s weekend and learned about how many of his behaviors contributed to the demise of the relationship. While reconciliation wasn’t an option, his ownership for his part went a long way in keeping the peace.

Only from a place of new awareness can we  begin to consider a context that will serve us, our children, and our soon to be former spouse in lasting decisions that effect everyone.

Determination of a guiding principle throughout the dissolution process

Rick was clearly the wage earner and Mary was clearly the primary caregiver. As soon as it became clear to them that reconciliation was no longer viable, the first thing they did was agree on what guiding principle they would follow. It was imperative for them to understand that despite getting divorced, that they were still the parents of three children. This meant that raising the kids in as healthy of an environment as possible despite the circumstances was first and foremost. This became a guiding principle amidst their negotiations.

Be flexible in negotiations while adhering to the guiding principle

Custody of the children, whether to sell the house, what to do with the proceeds, how to deal with debt, as well as monthly support (both alimony and child support), all needed to be answered .
Rick recognized and decided that in order to make it possible for Mary to remain in the same area to minimize the disruption to the children that the remaining proceeds would go to Mary for the purchase of a home in the same county. Rick knew that as the primary wage earner with far more earning potential than Mary as well as a desire for her to remain a stay at home mom that this was the right thing to do for everybody.I know this may fly in the face of what many of you believe; think big picture, your kids, your eventual happiness.

Rick also knew he could use this gesture as a consideration for other aspects of negotiations. While this isn’t possible for many men facing divorce, the operative aspect is to be flexible while adhering to the guiding principle agreed upon..

Recognize that how you work through current financial decisions throughout the divorce sets the stage for all future financial discussions

Working through these difficult financial negotiations with a variety of old and new emotions attached is no walk in the park. With that said, commitment to a collaborative process now will create a model for all future discussions and a higher likelihood of an amicable and equitable resolutions to financial issues that arise. If its acrimonious now, chances are it will be later. Be fair to yourself and the person you loved enough at one time to consider spending your life with.

On a personal note,I can share with you that ten years later, my former wife and I still have to talk and deal with money and our success has much to do with how we conducted ourselves while going through the divorce.

Rick and Mary are remarried and still very active co-parents to their three children. They have a healthier relationship around money now than they did when they were married and have brought that into their present relationships.
To summarize, the 4 Guiding Principles to use while going through divorce are;

  1. Taking ownership for our part in the divorce
  2. Determination of a guiding principle throughout  the dissolution process
  3. Be flexible in negotiations while adhering to the guiding principle agreed upon
  4. Recognize that how you work through current financial decisions throughout the divorce sets the stage for all future financial discussions


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