Getting a Divorce in Australia? 5 Ways to Cope as a Newly Divorced Man

1st January 1970

Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful life events anyone can endure. There's a lot to process - why your marriage has ended, how to care for your children, where to live, the list goes on. But divorce does not mean your life is over.

As a man, divorce may be particularly difficult to process due to the fact that men take on the responsibility of breadwinner in many families. Men are also less likely to reach out and ask for help when they need it. 

If you're facing a divorce in Australia as a man, here are few emotional coping strategies that can help you through this stressful life transition. 

How to Emotionally Cope With Divorce As a Man 

Divorce can trigger a mountain of emotions. As a man, these emotions are complex and run very deep, even if you don't recognise them at first. Men have a habit of becoming reticent to their feelings. Swallowing your emotion and grief is probably the worst way to process and overcome the stress. 

Instead of clamming up about how you feel, here are a few healthy coping strategies: 

1. Accept That There Will Be Bad Days 

The process of divorce can take its toll. Some days, you may find that you can't cope with it all. You might want to run away and hide. 

It's important to face those days and know that it's completely normal to have bad days. You're only human. It may sound ironic, but one of the best coping strategies is to understand that some days you just can't handle it all. This way, you can cut yourself some slack on the bad days. 

2. Don't Obsess Over What You're ''Supposed'' to Feel

As a man, tapping into your emotions may not come easy to you. But this is completely personal. Some men may be able to move through their emotions quickly and process a divorce in a healthy way. For others, the process may take far longer. 

Don't get hung up on the timeline of how you're emotionally dealing with it all. Don't compare yourself to others either. Focus on your emotions when you feel them, and try not to force anything. 

3. Recognise Unhealthy Male Support 

The process of divorce allows for plenty of self-introspection. You will go through a number of emotions such as anger, resentment, and guilt, and probably question where you went wrong a million times. During this time, you will come to rely on the support of friends to help you see things a little more clearly. But it's important to recognise the difference between advice and criticism.   

Take the time to acknowledge when a friend is actually being helpful or not. Your male friends may carry on with their lives as if nothing has changed for you, which can be beneficial. But be wary of the friends who are quick to tell you where you went wrong, without offering support. This can be damaging for your ability to heal. 

4. Don't Be Brave and Go Through it Alone 

By nature, men tend to process their emotions alone and are not accustomed to asking for help or reaching out. However, this can also differ from one man to the next.

Don't fall into the trap of torturing yourself through the pain of your divorce. Make a point of connecting with like-minded men who have experienced what you're going through. This can do wonders for your mental state and your ability to heal and move on. 

5. Back Yourself

One of the best ways to cope with divorce is to be there for yourself and believe that you have the strength to move on. A good place to start is with a healthy routine. Make time for good sleep, nutrition, exercise, and time with friends and family who make you feel loved and understood. 

This a good chance to rekindle a love for old hobbies, or even pick up a new one. Stick to a healthy routine where possible -- one that supports your children and their lives. 

Divorce in Australia: The Rights of Men Vs. Women 

Yes, the process of divorce is complicated. But the reality is that men don't have different rights in divorce proceedings, compared to women. However, this can differ depending on the divorce laws in your region of Australia. It can also vary based on the circumstances of your divorce. 

Bear in mind, you are required to be separated for a period of no less than 12-months before you can actually file for divorce in Australia. 

How Likely Are Men to Get Custody of Their Children?

Undoubtedly, the biggest concern for any man and father facing divorce is the custody of their children. The good news is that Australian divorce law protects the rights of the child/children. This means that the law aims at protecting the relationship of both parents during a divorce. 

There is a common misconception that custody of children is always awarded to the mother. However, if it's in the best interest of the child, the court may grant custody to the father. Bear in mind that the court will always recognise the rights of a child and their best interests.

Arrangements where children spend most of their time with their father are usually more common in court-ordered cases. While 45% of court orders decided by a judge grant sole custody to the mother. 

The custody of a man's children depends on both parents. If both spouses can prove they have an amicable relationship, joint custody is generally granted.  

Are Men Always Required to Pay Child Support? 

No, this is not always the case. In fact, the law states that child support rights are the same for both men and women. Child support is based upon who receives custody of the children. Basically, the non-custodial parent pays child support. This could be either a man or a woman. 

In the case of joint custody, the finances are shared between spouses. 

The same concept applies to spousal maintenance. The man is not always required to support their ex-spouse financially. It works both ways. But for spousal maintenance to be granted the partner must prove they cannot fully support themselves. 

How Can You Protect Your Assets? 

Ideally, you should take precautions to protect your assets before the divorce process begins. If you entered into a formal agreement with your partner about your assets, you can revise this agreement before you file for divorce. 

You can also protect your assets by separating your finances and property dealings from your partner's name. Revise what is written in your will regarding your assets and property. Contribute as much as you can to household expenses and do not enter into a joint loan where possible. 

Need Capable Family Lawyers on Your Side? 

If you're facing a divorce in Australia, Koolik & Associates offers a team of dedicated family lawyers who can help you through this major life change. We understand that you may need all the support you can get, and we are proud to offer it. 

Learn more about the divorce options we offer and get the peace-of-mind you're looking for. 

An infographic about divorce and men in Australia

Resources for Men:

Please note the content of this post is information only and not legal advice.  If you require legal advice it is best to contact one of our lawyers who can review your particular circumstances and then provide tailored advice according to your needs.

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