The Other Side of Family Law; Stress, Anxiety, Depression

Your child custody matter will inevitably be stressful, and might bring on anxiety and depression. You have a number of things going on in your life already. You may be adjusting to not having the same amount of support that you previously had for the children. Money is an issue because now you are a single parent and the other parent is causing problems with regard to the children. Now you have court dates and competing commitments to deal with the case and answer your attorney’s questions so that she can help you.

I’ve had clients and observed others who are devastated by the loss of their family whether they still like the other parent or not. Some of the things I’ve seen or heard in my experience include:

  • Alienation of one parent by the other.
  • Physical abuse that happened and may still be happening.
  • Psychological abuse. There can be so many ways this is done.
    • Relying on the other parent to pay for everything that both parents are responsible for.
    • Lying about you during the case to make it seem like you’re crazy.
    • Not disclosing marital assets or property, having secret accounts off shore funded with marital funds.
    • Repeated affairs that the other partner knows about, but no one talks about it, and it become the elephant in the room.
    • Tormenting the other party to make them leave the relationship.
    • The other parent telling the children that he will visit them and he or she doesn’t.

There is also the court case itself that brings on stress and a tangle of emotions: whether the judge will see things your way, or whether the judge will believe the lies that the other party testifies to. Anxiety and depression is likely to be creeping into your psyche. This is normal.

There is something that I’ve always wanted for my clients, and that is to seek out some type of counseling, such as a counselor, social worker, or psychiatrist. The sooner you are able to see a therapist with consistently, the more clear-headed you will be to handle all of the pain that inevitably is a part of family law cases. If your attorney is the only one that is helping you through your rough time, he may become the scapegoat for your pain, and that would not be fair. As an attorney, I will try to help in any way that I can within the scope of my responsibility.

So, again, my recommendation is that you seek out a therapist while going through a family law case, even if you think you are extraordinarily strong. For questions or comments about this article, please contact me.