There are two paths in every divorce, the legal path and the emotional path.
The legal path tries to be objective. There are statutes and case law that spell out in particular how a court should decide issues of custody, property division, child support, and alimony. A qualified divorce lawyer understands the statutes and the case law and applies them with argument to their client’s favor in order to advance their goals.
The emotional path is subjective. Anger, jealously, and other deep emotional triggers. The emotional path is more difficult to navigate. There are no rules, rather feelings. Your lawyer should counsel and caution you on both the legal and emotional paths of your case. It is not uncommon for simple “legal” cases to become complex (and expensive) “emotional” cases.
So what can a client do to tame the emotional component of their divorce? I offer three recommendations:
First, do not have extramarital sexual contacts or an affair during the divorce process and if you are, use discretion. Nothing seems to stir up more emotion than the “other man” or “other woman”. It is normal for an illicit lover to invoke an emotional response from another party. This emotional response can make it difficult to settle an otherwise simple case.
Second, do not share your troubles with the world. Talking with a good friend, clergy or trusted family member can be therapeutic. However, discussing your troubles with everyone you cross paths with can be damaging. While you may feel better sharing your troubles with the world, it rarely seems to help. Neighborhood gossip tends to incite conflict in a divorce rather than solve your problems. Facebook and other social network sites are not a proper forum to air your dirty laundry.
Third, employ a qualified therapist. A therapist is best situated to help you navigate the emotional aspects of a divorce. However, finding the right therapist is often difficult. A good fit is a must for therapy to be therapeutic and a bad fit can be harmful. Rely on friends, family or your physician for a referral.
In a recent article in The Huffington Post entitled “Your Brain on Divorce”, the attorney author argues that “emotion is stronger than thought.” While this premise may be extreme, the emotional component is real and should not be ignored. Following the three recommendations can help you navigate the emotional component of your divorce and focus on achieving your goals.
P.S. If you are interested, here is the Huffington Post Article I referenced.