Family Law And Therapy

Even for people who have cooperative cases with little conflict, any family law matter is challenging and emotionally taxing. In part, this is due to so many areas of a party’s life simultaneously falling into disarray and flux. Living situations, children, finances, social circles, family relationships, extended family relationships, work lives, home lives and religious or spiritual lives can all be affected.

  • Any family law case tends to launch the parties and family into foreign new dimensions.
    A former confidante is now an adversary. She or he might not be behaving in a particularly hostile manner at any moment. However this can instantly change.
  • Our years of experience in ushering our clients through this challenging period of their lives provide insights. We have seen some clients successfully navigate their situations, but we have seen many others unintentionally make the process harder, more complicated than necessary, and more expensive – both emotionally and financially – on themselves and on others. Oftentimes, clients’ best intentions might still yield counter-productive results. Our best recommendation toward avoiding those pitfalls and for other good reasons is to seek therapy from a qualified professional.
  • While we are well versed in advising and coaching our clients, we are not therapists and we do not pretend to be. It would be unethical for us to cross that line, and so we will not. We nonetheless perceive clients attempting to utilize us as “de facto” therapists for various reasons:
  • Clients sometimes think we understand their situations better than a therapist could since we deal with their issues on a daily basis.
  • Clients sometimes think we have the power to control the other side’s behavior (– we do not; oftentimes all we can do is simply analyze and suggest options to address whatever behavior they might initiate).
  • Clients bond with us and take our empathy as a path toward emotional health.
  • Clients do not want to engage yet another professional to help them in an already- overwhelming and expensive process.
  • We are well-staffed and good at lending listening ears.

While we respect the above, experience teaches that a qualified therapist in a family law case is as vital as having a good attorney. Therapists are qualified to focus on underlying issues that directly affect and impact clients’ feelings, emotions and conduct. They are qualified to at least initially identify and address personality disorders and other pathologies (including of the other spouse and related persons) that can interfere with a matter’s progress. They are substantially less expensive than we attorneys, and they have insights and tools that we lack.

As such, we highly recommend that you please schedule a consultation with a qualified therapist to discuss how therapeutic intervention might assist you. On request, we would be pleased to make recommendations. We have occasion to know the professionals in our area who are intimately familiar with the particular challenges family law cases present.

Certified Specialist, Family Law,
The California Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California 
Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers 
Writer’s direct email: [email protected]