The thought of what has happened interrupts you seven times a day. You have lost everything you helped build, all sense of love and belonging in the world. The crisis has left in its wake the disorganization of your instincts and ideas.
Every divorced dad has to carry his own grief and try to begin a new life again in the world. Remember that you are still a father. Taking care of your children during this crisis is your first priority. It’s the only way to break the inertia. It’s the only way to get back in control of your life, take responsibility and start fixing that broken heart, that broken home.
It is time to get help:
- Along with the correct legal advice, consider seeing a family therapist or psychologist.
- Coping isn’t easy. Feelings of rage and vindication can overwhelm you at this time. Be aware that these feelings are normal, but acting on them is not.
- You need to talk it out—with friends, a support group or with a therapist. Newly divorced dads often find this helpful to regain a sense of control over their situation.
- Remember that it takes time to get back to what will pass for “normal,” given your new situation. Set realistic expectations for how long it will take to get back on track.
It takes a lot of sanity to make the right decision when it comes to deciding the fate of your fatherhood after divorce. That is exactly what is at stake in the situation.
Knowing your rights as a father is the first positive step towards understanding your legal position. Once you have familiarized yourself with the legal basics, you can decide on the individual merits of your case with the help of your lawyer:
- If you feel the divorce is “not your fault” or if your spouse is an incompetent parent, you may choose to sue for sole custody. However, this may involve unnecessary separations and prolonged battles with your family, and resulting alienation and resentment among your children.
- You may decide to negotiate for joint custody and generous visitation rights—decisions which go a long way in repairing the damage of divorce and gives time to everyone to deal rationally with each other.
You may find that a commitment towards creating conditions for a stable environment for your children is more important than taking revenge on your spouse for the divorce.