Divorce affects every aspect of a person’s life—the things that we hold most dear to us: family, financial security, expectations, and dreams about our future. All that is tossed around and disassembled during divorce. How do you stay on course when everything you know, depended on, relied on and loved, is in flux? How do you go about your daily life while experiencing all the mixed emotions and feelings that divorce brings: betrayal, guilt, anger, fear, sadness and conflict?
As a divorce attorney with a social work background, I understand why and how divorce can be so emotionally challenging. I also know that for so many clients, it feels natural and comfortable to use their divorce attorney as their “quasi” therapist. Here’s my advice, don’t do that! We don’t want you to find out the hard way just how unproductive and wasteful it is to use your attorney as your therapist. Think about it this way: you wouldn’t go to your therapist for legal advice, would you?
A lawyer’s job is to advocate for you, educate you, guide you and protect your legal rights in order to get you the best outcome possible in your divorce. That’s not to say that they should be uninterested in you as a person or disregard how you’re feeling. You want a lawyer who is empathetic and who cares about you and your family. However, you don’t want to use your lawyer’s expensive hourly rate to talk about emotional stuff when that lawyer is not trained in helping you work through your emotions, a therapist is.
That is precisely why during my consultation with a client, I so often ask “do you have a therapist? If not, I suggest you think about getting one.” The reason for my suggestion is that during divorce, you may need tools, resources and resilience to navigate the often-challenging emotional terrain of divorce. A therapist is specially trained and equipped to help you get those. As lawyers, our hours are spent doing our due diligence, strategizing, counseling and guiding our clients in order to get you the best results possible with regard to your children, finances and property. Try not to confuse the two, it will save you a lot of time and money.