When estimating the potential cost of divorce, it is easy to get caught up in how expensive the process is going to be. It is one of the most significant financial life events a person can go through.
The cost of divorce can hit your bank account, retirement savings, credit score, and leave you with monthly child support and alimony payments for years to come. Those variables make it practically impossible to estimate the average cost of divorce.
However, one thing divorce statistics do not account for is the intangible cost of divorce. While it can take a man a lifetime to recover financially from the cost of divorce, the intangible expenses are often even more difficult to bounce back from.
Your relationship with your kids
By far, the intangible cost of divorce that has the biggest effect on dads is that it can forever alter the relationship fathers have with their children.
Outdated stereotypes still are prevalent in the family court system, so fathers are constantly facing an uphill battle when it comes to child custody issues. Although the shared parenting movement has made much progress, state custody statutes by and large do a poor job of giving children of divorce equal access to each parent.
Even if you and your ex work out an effective co-parenting arrangement, you still are going to be splitting time and thus seeing your kids much less than you did while married.
However, while you might not get as much parenting time as you would like, it is important for you to realize you still play a crucial role in your children’s lives as a divorced dad.
To help you get the best custody arrangement possible, it is best to work with an experienced divorce attorney. They will know the ins and outs of the child custody laws in your jurisdiction and help you make the case that you are a great father who deserves to be heavily involved in his kids’ lives.
Negative effects on children of divorce
- More likely to experience injury, asthma, headaches, and speech impediments
- More likely to struggle in school
- More likely to need psychological help
- More likely to become dependent on alcohol or drugs
Furthermore, children of divorce are more likely to eventually get divorced themselves.
Taken at surface level, this research seems to suggest that children of divorce are doomed to fail. However, it is crucial to understand you and your ex have a lot of power to mitigate these risks.
Research also shows that many of the negative outcomes children of divorce face have more to do with the amount of parental conflict they are exposed to rather than the event of divorce itself. This should give you hope as a divorced father and motivate you and your ex to work together to be the best co-parents possible.
The impact on your social life
An unexpected intangible cost of divorce is the degree to which divorce affects your social life.
If you and your wife were together for any considerable amount of time, then your social lives were likely intermingled and you probably shared a good number of friends. In the wake of divorce, those friends are likely to choose sides and lose touch with whomever they were less acquainted with.
However, there is a bright side to this. Now that you are single, you have the freedom to go out and socialize on you own. It is not a good idea to immediately jump into a rebound relationship, but you should use this time to discover new hobbies and interests and reinvent yourself for the better.
Most married guys get a large sense of their identity from their role as a husband and father. After divorce, it is common for men to go through a serious identity crisis as they work to get back on their feet. This intangible cost of divorce can be particularly difficult to overcome as emotional distress is often listed as the most unexpectedly challenging part of divorce.
As you are battling through all the complicated emotions that arise following a divorce, it is important to avoid shutting down and internalizing everything you are feeling. It might be a good idea to seek help from a professional counselor or psychologist as you are going through this difficult transition.
As you can see, the cost of divorce goes well beyond the monetary figures listed in divorce statistics of the average cost of divorce. Intangible factors take just as much a toll on your overall well-being as financial factors. Get in touch with a family law attorney as soon as possible to help limit both the financial and intangible cost of divorce as much as possible.