As a seasoned divorce attorney in Dallas, Texas, I frequently meet and work with men whose wives have expressed a desire to leave them. My law practice is 100% dedicated to family law, in which I am Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and most of my cases in this practice area are divorce cases.
I have received numerous awards for my work, and I am consistently recognized as one of the top divorce attorneys in Texas. I love what I do, notwithstanding the fact that I frequently work with men who are miserable and whose marriages are dissolving.
Through it all, I relish the opportunity to be of service in helping my clients end one life chapter and begin another.
DEALING WITH DIVORCE
Dealing with divorce is not easy, but as John Lennon and Paul McCartney imparted to us in the Beatles’ magnum opus, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “it’s getting better all the time.”
This is true regarding not only the institution of divorce – which is becoming more and more common with each generation – but also the divorce process itself.
Whether you initiate it or your wife initiates it, a divorce inevitably begins in chaos.
Once someone says “I want a divorce,” neither of you know what is supposed to happen next. Does somebody have to leave? If so, who gets to stay in the house? Do I still have to have my salary or wages directly deposited into that account? Does my wife have to share her income with me? How do our bills get paid until the divorce is final?
The answers to the above questions are all questions that you should ask an attorney licensed to practice law where your divorce is filed, and the answers to these questions may vary depending on where you and your wife reside, since divorce is governed by state law.
Regardless of jurisdiction, one thing is certain: taking the high road will pay dividends. There is an adage that I like to tell my clients: One catches more flies with honey than with vinegar. In my experience, there is no setting where this is more accurate than divorce.
This is not to say that you should be a pushover and agree to whatever your wife wants. That is not what I am suggesting at all. But make no mistake, if your wife wants a divorce, there will be a divorce—whether you want one yourself or not.
As such, if your wife is deciding to leave you, embrace the process, trust your attorney, and accept the things you cannot change.
Aside from terminating the relationship, you and your wife will need to determine how to divide your property and whether there will be continued financial support. You can do this through direct negotiations with your wife (not expensive) or through negotiations with your attorneys (expensive) or through litigation and letting a judge or jury decide (very expensive).
WHAT IF WE HAVE KIDS?
If you and your wife have children together, then there are even more reasons to take the high road.
While you might be ending your marriage, you are not ending your parenthood, and you and your soon-to-be-ex-wife will need to continue to see each other and communicate with each other at least until each one of your children becomes a legal adult.
Even after your child reaches the age of majority, there will be graduations, weddings, childbirths, funerals, and other life events where you and the mother of your child will be. You want to coexist not just for the sake of your child but also for the sake of your own health and sanity.
Perpetual resentment is no way to go through life, and you owe it to yourself to be content and not bitter.
TAKING THE HIGH ROAD IN A DIVORCE
So, what does it mean to take the high road in a divorce? It means to treat each communication with your wife as if it would be played for or read to a judge or jury (because it might be). It means to be decent and not act out in a way you will later regret. You are entitled to have all the feelings you have, but you are not entitled to act out in response to each one of those feelings.
Stay away from drugs and alcohol during this time. This is especially true if you have a minor child, since you could jeopardize certain child custody rights. Family courts can and frequently do drug test parents involved in child custody disputes. Take the spiritual high road, not the chemical one.
Taking the high road also means treating yourself with dignity.
Make sure to eat right, exercise, and protect what is important to you. Don’t “give away the farm” in your settlement negotiations. Take an inventory of what is important to you.
What do you want out of this divorce? Do you want the house, or do you want to start over with cash out of the house instead?
Do you want to have the same amount of time your wife will have with your kid or do you want even more time than that?
Find out what is important to you and negotiate based on your interests. Don’t negotiate based on what you think your wife wants or to try to prevent her from getting what she wants. If your wife happens to have interests in the divorce that are compatible with yours (e.g., you want the house and she wants cash), then that is a blessing.
Think about yourself, not about her. Look out for what is good for you—don’t look for opportunities to try to punish. Any satisfaction you might derive from being punitive will be short term and will not help you in the long run.
Make your needs the focus.
Divorce is tough, but it is a far cry from the end of the world. In fact, it is oftentimes an opportunity to move on to a better life. Take the high road, trust the process, think for yourself, and everything will be alright.
Remember that it is getting better all the time. You will especially notice this as things become less uncertain in your divorce process. There is a life without limitations on the other side of divorce that is waiting for you. Time to go pursue it.
A resident of Dallas, Texas, Robert Epstein is a family attorney who handles every kind of family law matter, including pre and post-marital agreements, adoption, divorce, custody matters and modifications, and property and asset division. He is consistently recognized as one of the best family attorneys in North Texas.