Dealing with Emotions in Family Law Practice

Family law is a challenging, yet satisfying area of practice. It is one of the few fields of law that remains dominated by solo practitioners and small law firms. Family law emphasizes the individual, family, and personal relationships. Assisting a family which is in conflict to find compromises and common ground can profoundly benefit the parties and their children. The rewards from this practice are great but there are pitfalls in the practice also.

According to psychological research, the second most stressful event in an individual’s life is divorce. The most stressful event in an individual’s life is the death of a spouse or child. Surprisingly, numbers seven and nine on this list are getting married or reconciling a marriage. Therefore, attorneys who practice family law must recognize that their clients will be experiencing very high levels of stress during this process.

This stress will express itself in different ways and at different times. Clients will experience raw emotional pain that may not be given a chance to heal until the dissolution process is complete. A client may, at times, lash out at those who are trying to help them through this process. While attorneys are not family therapists or counselors, they must be aware of their client’s emotions and stress during this difficult time. If the client is not in counseling, it may be appropriate to suggest such a course of action. Having knowledge of available resources to which clients can be referred is beneficial.

Remember the complicated emotions that are at play in family law cases. Attorneys that learn to navigate those emotions will be more successful in this practice.

Rich Arnold, Esq.

Family Law – Arnold & Arnold, LLP