Hello, I am Nick Slinko of the Feldstein Family Law Group. Today I will be discussing counseling and why it may become necessary after marriage breakdown.
Separation and divorce are difficult for most parties and their children, even when the parties separate on an amicable basis.
The role of your family law lawyer is to focus on your legal issues not the emotional and social issues arising from the marriage and its breakdown. A family law lawyer, while sympathetic to your situation, is not a therapist.
It is therefore helpful for a party to seek the assistance of a counselor or therapist during this difficult time.
At times the emotional upset can become so overwhelming that it makes it difficult for a party to effectively participate in the negotiation of a resolution of the issues in dispute. This upset can hamper and delay a settlement. This in turn results in both parties spending more money on legal fees.
It is therefore wise for a party who is considering separation or who has separated to seek assistance and support from a therapist or counselor. The emotional support and guidance of a counselor can provide the party with the support and stability to deal with the issues in dispute while working through the upset of the breakdown of the relationship.
A therapist or counselor may also assist the parties with strategies to tell the children about the separation and about the changes coming about.
Moreover, the children will require counseling to assist them with the changes that have been happening to their family, their feelings of anger, upset or confusion about the separation and their anxiety about the future. This is of particular importance, as regardless of how strong a bond a child has with a particular parent, I have in my experience found that children are not always honest with their parents about (when they are teenagers, for example) where they would like to reside, as they do not want to upset either mom or dad.
In a situation where one of the parents has become alienated from the children or the children are refusing to attend for access with a parent because of some upset, a therapist can assist with reconciliation counselling between the children and that parent to help them repair their relationship.