Divorce is never easy for anyone, but women and men face different difficulties and challenges in a divorce. If you are divorcing in or near the Baltimore area, or if you expect that your spouse will be divorcing you, you must be advised and represented by a Baltimore divorce attorney.
How is divorce different – and difficult – for men? What unique challenges and difficulties does a man face during – and after – the divorce process? What steps can a man take to prepare for a divorce proceeding and to protect himself from the negative effects of a divorce?
If you will keep reading this brief discussion of how divorce is different for men, you’ll find some of the answers you may need, but if you are a man who is divorcing in the Baltimore area, you will also need the personalized advice that a Baltimore divorce lawyer provides.
Can Men “Lose Their Identity” Through Divorce?
Husband. Father. Breadwinner. Authority figure. Marriage and children give men important identities that enhance their self-esteem and self-worth. A husband and father is “who a man is.” Marital status is a key element of self-identification and the way others view and relate to you.
A man loses all of that in a divorce. And without the physical custody of his children, a man may feel like he isn’t part of their lives any longer. Too often, for too many men, the results of divorce are addiction, depression, and in the most extreme cases, suicide.
How Do Men and Women Respond Differently to Divorce?
Statistically, men have more health problems than women during and after a divorce. They struggle with weight problems, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. In a divorce, men deal with financial and psychological issues that may put them at risk for heart attacks and strokes.
Men also are statistically more at risk for alcohol and drug abuse, and they are less likely to seek psychological therapy or counseling during or after a divorce than women are. Many men are not comfortable seeking emotional support.
Women tend to pursue new activities and join groups – exercise groups, book clubs, political or religious groups – after a divorce, and they tend to create new social connections, whereas men do not, as a rule, seek out new activities or new friends after a divorce.
Mothers who are awarded the physical custody of their children are still playing a significant role in their children’s lives, and that role provides the personal fulfillment and identity that a man may no longer have after a divorce.
Are the Courts Biased?
In Maryland, mothers and fathers have precisely the same child custody and child support rights. They’re “tied,” and the law provides no tie-breaking process. Many fathers, however, believe they pay too much for child support and do not have enough visitation time with their children.
It is generally agreed that both parents should be part of a child’s life, but there is still a sense that courts tend to choose mothers over fathers when it comes to child support and child custody contests. Nothing in Maryland law, however, gives either fathers or mothers any legal advantage.
Still, mothers are awarded physical custody of their children in most custody cases, and most divorced mothers receive and do not pay child support. However, bias is not necessarily the reason. Instead, these are the choices that most divorcing couples with children make voluntarily.
Parents who divorce may reach their own agreements about the custody and support of their child or children. Unless their agreement somehow conflicts with the child’s best interests, a Maryland court will almost always “sign off” on the plan that the parents have agreed upon.
How Should a Man Prepare for a Divorce?
When you file for divorce in Maryland, or when you are served with divorce papers, you must prepare for the difficult legal process that is about to begin. In or near the Baltimore area, the first step you should take is to schedule a consultation with a Baltimore divorce attorney.
Your attorney will protect your rights and your long-term best interests by ensuring that you are treated fairly and justly throughout the divorce proceeding. You should also take these additional steps to prepare for your divorce:
- Research and learn about the divorce process, your legal options, and your alternatives.
- Organize your finances and maintain your credit score.
- Protect your privacy. Change the passwords on your social, financial, and email accounts.
- Make a list of your personal property that should not be considered marital property.
- Do not criticize your spouse verbally, especially online. Maintain your personal integrity.
- Maintain your health, too, with the proper diet, exercise, and the right amount of sleep.
- Find ways to compromise with your spouse to make your divorce quicker and less costly.
- Consult a Baltimore divorce lawyer. That’s the first step you should take.
What Are the Requirements for Divorcing in Maryland?
To file for a divorce in Maryland, at least one spouse must be a current resident of the state. If the grounds for the divorce occurred in a different state, at least one spouse must have resided in Maryland for at least six months before you can file for divorce.
A divorce in Maryland can last from several weeks to as long as a year or even longer. The length of a divorce proceeding depends on what issues are in dispute, how complicated and extensive the couple’s assets and properties are, and whether children are involved.
What Else Should Men Know About Divorce?
A court order for child custody or support is not necessarily permanent. Over time, the best interests of the child may change, and a custody or support order may also be revised after a substantial change in the father’s, mother’s, or child’s life.
A remarriage, a relocation or new job, a new child, disability, unemployment, or a conviction for a crime – for instance – could necessitate the revision of a child custody or support order. A modification may be approved by the court if the change is in the best interests of the child.
Divorce laws, child custody laws, and child support laws are complicated in Maryland. A man cannot go it alone in a Maryland divorce. If you are divorcing and/or fighting for the custody of your child or children, make the call now to schedule a meeting with a Maryland divorce lawyer.