For many, going through a divorce and a mid-life crisis are like the chicken and the egg: The two are often so closely related that it can be hard to tell which came first. Whether the stress of divorce caused a crisis or the crisis pushed a marriage to the brink, many going through those situations have to manage both.
At the time, it may seem like the perfect opportunity to try and reinvent yourself; however, this can be a bad idea while you are still going through the divorce process. It is best to try and maintain a cool, calm and most importantly stable appearance while you still have to make appearances in front of a judge. Here are some things you may want to avoid while the divorce is still proceeding:
This is not the time to show up in court with that Mike Tyson face tattoo that “seemed like a good idea at the time,” after a tribute to The Hangover-style weekend of boozing in Atlantic City with your friends. It is completely your choice what kind of body modifications you want to make, but waiting until the divorce is finalized is probably for the best.
You may want to avoid even smaller alterations, like getting piercings, extreme haircuts, major changes in attitude or anything else that is noticeable. Remember that the name of the game is stability, and any major change does not give off that image.
While it may seem tempting to reignite the nightlife side of you that may have been smothered when you settled down for marriage, it is probably better to keep a lower profile while the proceedings are still ongoing.
Social media posts are commonly being brought up as evidence in court these days, and if your Facebook is covered in check-ins at local bars, pictures of you shotgunning beers and comments from your buddies about that crazy Saturday at the local gentlemen’s club, you are not giving off the image of a stable individual. This can be particularly harmful if you have children and custody is a major source of contention.
The traditional mid-life crisis fix of finally buying your dream car and cruising across the country may sound like just what you need to get rid of all that excess stress, but I guarantee a judge won’t see things the same way.
You will instead be giving the appearance that, despite your denials, you make plenty enough money to afford larger alimony payments to your spouse since you can afford such a nice car. Not to mention that if the marriage isn’t complete, you probably just spent communal assets to get it. Depending on how things go, your future ex may be the one driving away from the courthouse in your baby after the divorce decree is finalized.
If you’ve always been a pretty conservative person, now is not the time to decide you want to quit your job and become a professional MMA fighter. The goal while the divorce is still going on is to put forth the image of being a sane and steady individual, and showing up to court with a black eye and cast because you were beaten to a pulp in your first fight will not help your case.
Those examples are obviously to the extreme, but they are intended to illustrate a point: composure and stability help build credibility. You don’t want the judge wondering every time your hearing approaches what wacky story he or she will have to endure this time around — you want them to remember someone who is confident, poised and self-possessed.
If the pressure of divorce is driving you to the point of a crisis, seeking support or professional help are much healthier ways to manage the stress. That may not be the traditional manly-man method of dealing with problems, but it will be much healthier for yourself and your case.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”