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What men must know when heading toward divorce

Your wife files for divorce. You know some of the stereotypes about divorce all too well. For instance, you have heard that women are more likely to get custody of the kids, while men -- like yourself -- are more likely to pay child support. Due to differences in the workplace, you also think you're more likely to pay alimony, although you may still have a better transition to life after divorce since you can support yourself with your career.

First things first: Don't put too much weight in stereotypes. Much of what is noted above is somewhat outdated. Men and women are more equal than ever before in the workplace. Both can often support themselves. At the same time, men and women are more equal in child custody cases, as well, with courts now attempting to give out joint custody to keep them both involved with the kids.

With that in mind, here are a few more things men need to know about divorce in Minnesota:

You need friends and family

Men often want to take things on alone, without asking for help. Experts say that you absolutely shouldn't do this. You need your friends. You need your family. You need support.

"Divorce is one of the most devastating events a man can experience, with the exception of a death, [but] don't even think about going through this process solo," one author said after writing an entire book on the subject. "That's a surefire way to make the pain last for way too long. Spend time with close [male] friends who can hear you without offering lots of advice. You just need to get it all out. You don't need advice. Your friends can support you when you're feeling at your lowest and you shouldn't be shy about calling them whenever you need to talk. That's what friends are for."

Leave legal advice to the professionals, but turn to the people who know you for emotional support. If nothing else, talking it out helps.

The kids come first

No matter what, your kids come first. Make their lives a priority. Try to keep them away from the negative sides of the divorce. When making decisions -- where to live, how to divide your time, what you want to fight for in the divorce case -- do it based on what is best for them.

Don't obsess over it

Nothing good comes from obsessing over the divorce, and it just burns you out. Some experts advise setting aside a specific time to work on it -- an hour a day, for instance. Obviously, you may not be able to stick to this all the time, but the general rule holds true. Divorce is a huge part of your life now, but it's not all of your life, and it's certainly not all that your life will be. Don't let it take over.

Know your rights

As you work through the process, make sure you understand your rights. As noted above, divorce has changed a lot for men and women in recent years, and you must know what that means for you.

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