When you board an airplane, the flight attendant’s speech usually includes a welcome statement and requests that you securely fasten your seat belt. Then the attendant will alert you that if needed, oxygen masks will be released overhead and request that you secure your own mask before assisting others. Similar to an emergency plane landing, during a divorce, it is important to make sure to take care of yourself before helping others.
Many clients ask at the outset of their case how to best protect their children in divorce. My answer usually stresses the importance of self-care for the client. After my client has put on their own oxygen mask and taken care of themselves, they will ultimately be able to assist their child best.
As a family law attorney, it is my responsibility to shepherd clients through one of their most difficult situations – divorce. Divorce, for many, is the death of a dream. In this post, I’ve shared five tips that I recommend to clients going through a divorce.
Tip #1: Engage a therapist or mental health professional.
It is important to consider engaging a therapist to guide you through the roller-coaster of emotions associated with divorce. On occasion, clients who do not have a therapist overshare unnecessary information with their attorneys.
Family law attorneys are not mental health professionals. Often, certain conversations are better suited for mental health professionals. It is in everyone’s best interest to meet regularly with a therapist or mental health professional during a divorce.
Tip #2: Lean on your support system.
It’s important to identify your support system and surround yourself with friends and family who genuinely care about you. Family and friends can be a healthy distraction from reality.
Humans are social by nature. It can be easy to isolate and perseverate on the uncertainty during a divorce. Instead, be proactive and plan fun outings or activities with family and friends to look forward to.
Tip #3: Identify coping mechanisms.
Identify healthy outlets to focus your energy. It is important to maintain a healthy routine which may include eating healthy and exercising. Other clients may find it more helpful to write down their emotions and start journaling to deal with their anxieties. A divorce can also be a good time to reconnect with faith-based activities.
Tip #4: Be patient.
Remember, a divorce is a temporary phase in life that will eventually end. Be patient with the process. Unfortunately, sometimes the divorce process can be slow. If you understand going into your divorce that this space is temporary and that it won’t last forever, you will be better off.
Tip #5: Listen to your divorce attorney.
It’s important to find an attorney who listens to your concerns and one who you trust. Many people (not attorneys) like to give “legal” advice to someone going through a divorce. Remember, no two divorces are the same. Listen to your attorney, as they are the experienced professional you have hired to get you through this process.
In sum, the above tips will assist those going through a divorce in putting on their metaphorical oxygen mask. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, contact a competent divorce attorney well versed in this area of law to assist you in navigating the Family Court process.