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The health costs of divorce and custody battles on men

A study published in the Journal of Men's Health and Gender on the impact of fatherhood found that fathers who lose custody of their children in a divorce or separation are at a greater risk of chronic health conditions. Men who are legally disenfranchised from their children through a bad divorce face a higher suicide risk. While there are times when men should not have access to their children, the courts generally try to make sure children have access to both parents.

Men who are going through custody battles are more likely to turn to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes to deal with the devastation of having their children taken away. Many men begin to believe there just is not a point to take care of themselves when the future is so uncertain.

Why does divorce affect men's health so severely? Here are some of the theories and ways men may prevent a divorce from crushing their spirit:

  • Men forget to grieve the loss of the relationship. Widows and widowers are encouraged to grieve, but divorced people are expected to keep going with their life. Grief is not only for death, but for any loss. When a marriage dies, a spouse needs to grieve instead of bottling up his feelings. He may need to see a marriage counselor, therapist or pastor to help work through these feelings.
  • Men lose a sense of their identity when they divorce. When marriage defines who they are, losing this aspect of their self-worth can be devastating. They need to find ways to regain confidence with relationships. Talking to others about feelings may help.
  • Men often feel a sense of shame that the marriage did not work out. Society expects men to be the provider and hold the family together. Staying connected to the children and family can keep them engaged and help get through the feelings of guilt.

Men do not have to go through their divorces alone

Attitudes about men often prohibit people from seeking out assistance through the divorce process. Men are not supposed to ask for help or not supposed to cry. They need to find a new support system to protect their rights and responsibilities in the divorce. Fathers have a right to stay connected to their children and to find ways to communicate with them. A lawyer protects these legal rights.

Fathers should voice their concerns about divorce and child custody to their legal advocate. With information about the options, a man can make better choices and find solutions that fit his family's needs.

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Divorce: a Practical Guide

Divorce: A Practical Guide

Attorney Jusino’s new book on divorce is an easy read and full of valuable information. Learn More