And when things don't go in our favor, even when we are not given 50/50 parenting, it is still our responsibility as men, to lead from a position of love and strength.
I am responsible for my actions alone. And my actions as a divorced dad have been 100% honest, 100% open, and 100% mom/kid-friendly. Her actions... Not so much.
So while I unload and vent on this site from time to time, know that my intentions towards my kids are pure and my relationship between myself and my ex-wife may be in the "it's complicated" setting for now, but we're working on it.
One positive parent can make 100% of the difference. I'm not perfect, and occasionally I want to lash out when she does something that seems unreasonable. I don't. I never do.
Today I have more energy and joy for them when they are with me. I'm happier in my life than I was in the later years of my marriage. My kids are seeing me living my life to it's fullest. And when they are part of my life, I get to rub off on them as much as I can.
While I don't blame my then-wife for "going for it" and asking for everything she wanted: the money, the house, the custody, I don't think she was thinking beyond her interests. And we can all cite studies about mothering and nurturing, but today, just as many modern studies show the dad is of equal importance in bringing up healthy kids.
I felt like I had a pretty good idea of the way the divorce was going to go, once I agreed to actually get a divorce. We went, eyes wide open, into the negotiations about parenting rights, money, schedules, and I also felt like I had a cooperative soon-to-be wife who was not going to try to destroy me. The first part was true, the second part, well...
Suffering under massive financial hardship due to the initial divorce decree can be important for your survival and ability to thrive in your new life. Sure, you're going to court, but you had to do this in some form before to get divorced, and if it's absolutely necessary, at least make it as non-confrontational as possible.