How a therapist can help you and your Charleston Family Law Attorney in the divorce process.

Divorce is difficult, and the lawyers who control the process sometimes seem more interested in fighting with your spouse than you do. Therapist can have an important role in this process and will almost always be able to lay the groundwork for peaceful family interactions once the lawyers, guardians and judges are no longer involved.

In my nearly 25 years as a trial lawyer, half of which has been devoted exclusively to Family Law, I have found that therapists are critical to successful divorce settlements as well helping the family heal post divorce. Here are 4 ways a therapist can help both you and your Charleston Family Law Attorney:

  1. They will keep you rational. Divorce is trauma. When we are suffering through traumatic situations, we will often not think clearly unless we have help. Trauma effects our thinking as we revert to our ancient and impulsive “fight, flight or flee” responses.   A therapist can help you move past your impulsive tendencies so that you can listen clearly to the advice of your attorney and make decisions based upon logic and reason, as opposed to making impulsive decisions coming from a place of fear and insecurity.
  2. They will help you focus on what is really important to you. If you have retained a litigator you will most likely only be getting one perspective: Win at all costs. This is what litigation is: an adversarial process where one side must win, one side must lose; one side is to blame, the other is blameless (or less blameless); one side will be “punished”, one side will be rewarded. This system works great in criminal prosecutions and other kinds of civil cases such as contract disputes and medical error cases. But when a family must continue to have a post divorce relationship, the adversarial process is entirely inappropriate in most situations. A therapist will help you decide what is really important to you besides simply winning a legal case against your spouse. This way you can temper the litigation process and hopefully have a reasonable and harmonious post divorce relationship with your spouse.
  3. They will help you select the right attorney for your situation. If you have been seeing a therapist prior to making the divorce decision, they will be in a unique position to help you select the Charleston Family Law Attorney who is right for you. You may need a litigator if you are dealing with a narcissist, an abuser or substance abuse issues. On the other hand, the vast majority of people going through a divorce can benefit from collaborative practice  or mediation. Your therapist will know “who is who” and can help you pick the right lawyer for your particular situation.
  4. Simply “being there”. Many times I feel that my clients are looking for me to give them therapeutic advice. I am not a therapist, I don’t play one on TV, and I am not qualified (and too expensive) to give therapeutic advice. You may simply need someone, unrelated to you, to listen. Therapist are very good at listening, and often times we can come to our own conclusions with very little outside help if we simply have someone to listen to us and help us think through our problems. Therapists will tell you that you have all the answers you need inside of you; they are simply there to facilitate the process of discovery.

I have found that my clients who are involved with a therapist during a divorce case are easier to work with and make better long term decisions for their family. Those that are not are generally in a constant state of fear and dependent entirely upon their Charleston Family Law Attorney and the legal system. If you run a simple cost versus benefit analysis,  you will see that in almost all cases, you will be better off with the assistance of a therapist during your divorce case.

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