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Category: Family Law

Our Interdisciplinary Approach to High-Conflict Divorce

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Written by Olivia St. Clair Long, JD on 11.13.18

Divorcing parties often rely on attorneys and judges to help them relieve the stress of divorce. But, too few people recognize that the court system is not designed to make you feel heard or understood, or to address the pain and trauma of divorce. While the legal system is a vital part of providing essential relief to parties in high-conflict divorces, it is but one part, and its power is limited.

If you are divorcing, your life is changing in numerous ways.  Working with the appropriate professionals in each sphere will provide a better foundation for stability and healing. Our approach to high-conflict divorce cases often involves recommending the additional professional services:

  • Mental Health Counselors: We may recommend that you address your emotional needs with the support of a mental health professional such as a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), or Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), particularly one who is skilled in dealing with people going through divorce or domestic violence situations. By addressing these important mental health issues with a trained professional, clients are better equipped to make good decisions in the legal aspects of their divorce, rather than decisions based out of trauma, shame, or pain.

  • Financial Planners/Financial Counselors: Most divorces involve splitting assets that are hard to divide, like pension plans, brokerage accounts, and homes. Also, it is an unfortunate yet inescapable fact that divorce very often negatively impacts people’s financial health. Therefore, in many cases it can be helpful to work with a financial counselor or planner who can assist you in determining your fair share of your marital estate, as well as help you with a plan for ways to mitigate the negative financial impact of divorce. We only work with financial planners who do not sell investment products, but who are instead paid by the hour for their expertise and guidance.

This interdisciplinary approach to high-conflict divorce or domestic violence situations improves outcomes and mitigates stress more effectively for clients than working with a lawyer alone. Importantly, this approach emphasizes that you need, and deserve, emotional and financial support as well as legal support during your divorce.

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