May was Mental Health Awareness Month. A month dedicated to raising awareness regarding mental health resources and helping to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles. Of course, legal battles occur all year round, and it is important to check in on yourself and your loved ones often. In particular, the weight of a divorce, custody disputes, and litigation over your family’s estate can be significant. Also, despite the number of divorces which occur every year, many people still feel lost and feel unable to process what is happening.
As your lawyer, we can help you through the legal process, explain the steps, give you advice, strategize, and plan.
And while it may feel sometimes that we are also your therapist, we are not. That said, as family law and estate planning attorneys, we are in a unique position to have a network of mental health professionals from whom we can obtain referrals.
A mental health professional can assist you in many ways. If you are dealing with a high conflict custody case, many families are referred for “co-parenting counseling” or “family therapy” where the family can attempt to work out various disputes, big and small, which have hampered the family’s ability to work together cohesively for the children.
A mental health professional can also be helpful on an individual capacity with personal, individual therapy to help you digest this significant change in your life. They also can be just a person to talk to, that is unbiased and confidential.
One thing that comes up often in family law litigation is a lack of confidence in your future, which may have nothing to do with the financial impact of what you are going through and may have an underlying cause. A mental health professional can be a resource to work through those fears, help you build on and acknowledge your own worth, strength and progress.
Working on your mental health can have an impact on your ability to handle the legal process as well.
You may feel more confident understanding the documents you are reviewing and the advice you are getting, which can also help you when you are trying to negotiate a settlement.
Of course, there is the added stressor that affected the whole world in 2020. The COVID-19 Pandemic has affected people in ways they likely could not have imagined. Your networks of family, friends and colleagues may have become physically and mentally strained and distant. Making new connections and/or reflecting on those prior connections may be an important topic to cover with a mental health professional.
No one expects you to deal with this all on your own, and we want to provide you with all of the resources we can during a difficult time.
By Alexandra Kovalchick