If your attorney encourages you to see a divorce therapist, you may balk at the idea. Therapy? You?! But as much as you may want to initially, try not to dismiss this recommendation. Besides helping you feel better, seeing a therapist could actually help you manage your divorce – and keep your legal fees down. Here’s why.
Your attorney is not a therapist. You’re sharing intimate details of your life with your attorney, so it’s understandable that you begin to think of him or her as a confidante. But as much as they want to help, some of the help you need is outside their scope of practice. Your lawyer is there to protect your legal rights, but not really there to show you how to process how sad or frustrated you feel about the end of your marriage, though they do care about how you’re feeling. Attorneys work with people in crisis all day, so they can recognize when someone could benefit from mental health counseling. They often great recommendations for skilled therapists, too!
You are draining your budget. Attorneys are paid by the hour, so think about how you spend those hours. Do you spend a lot of time bashing your ex? Does your lawyer frequently redirect you to stick to the facts of your case? These are indications that you are using your attorney as your therapist, a habit that will further stretch your divorce budget a bit further than you would like. To maximize your attorney’s time, stay focused by making a list of topics that you would like to cover during your meeting — and stick to it! Leave anxiety and emotions about your ex for your time with a therapist. Look for a therapist covered by your insurance to lower costs.
Your emotional state is prolonging the divorce process. You need a clear head when making legal decisions that will impact the future of you and your children. If you’re in a near-constant state of emotional turmoil, you may bog down proceedings by wavering or making dragging out decisions. Seeing a therapist can help you develop coping skills to manage your emotions so you can focus on handling your divorce as sanely and expediently as possible.
Your divorce is unnecessarily high conflict. No matter how many awful things your ex might have done, seeking revenge and/or control will generate needless conflict. And it will bleed out onto your kids. If your spouse is the more acrimonious one, you still may be doing and saying things to unwittingly amp up the fighting. While most divorces aren’t easy, those with ongoing conflict indicate that people need professional help grieving the end of their marriage. A therapist trained in divorce can help you process your feelings and give you strategies for managing conflict.
Attorneys see first-hand the damage divorce does to children. Although they’re trained to litigate custody issues, no lawyer wants to see two adults dragging kids through conflict. If your attorney is telling you that you need therapy, you probably do. A therapist can help you with co-parenting strategies, or educate you about parallel parenting if conventional co-parenting techniques aren’t effective. If you’re not going to go for yourself, do it for your kids; they deserve a relationship with two well-adjusted parents.
Have questions about your divorce? We’re here to help. Our compassionate family law attorneys will listen to your needs and help you make smart, strategical moves to resolves your issues and move on with your life. Contact us to schedule a consultation. Call us today: 888-888-0919.