Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Do You Stay Sane?

I was talking with a psychiatrist this week (we won't go too deeply into the reason why). I was just casually discussing a call that I had with another lawyer about a case just before our meeting. It was a fairly routine case with clients engaging in what would be totally socially unacceptable behavior in the real world, but behavior that is not unusual in divorce cases. The case involvolved threats of physical violence, infidelity, tug of war over the children and the usual he said/she said. The doctor said to me in all seriousness-How do you stay sane? I will not reveal my answer .

If a psychiatrist wonders how a family law attorney can remain sane handling these cases, the even more important question is how can the parties who are actually living this remain sane. Your greatest chance of retaining some semblance of sanity is to use alternative dispute resolution and avoid court like the plague. Litigation encourages mental illness.

People also need to evaluate what is worth fighting about and what is not. Most tangible pieces of property are not worth fighting about. Children are not property. You do not divide them. You determine what is best for them, not for you.

You get help from the professionals that you need. If you have financial problems, you get financial help. If you have mental health issues, which can include just the pressure of handling this situation, you get mental health help.

You do not play games or participate in games that the other person starts. Sometimes you have to act like you just did not hear what they said to you. It takes two to play tug of war!

You also need to do what your lawyer tells you. This will help keep both of us sane!

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