Is it just me or are family lawyers becoming progressively aware of the real impact they have on separating parents and their children?
I often say that family solicitors are the first emergency service when it comes to divorce and separation.
Since launching The Divorce Magazine, I have noticed how an increasing number of solicitors are submitting content that leans towards encouraging parents to think about their children as they go through the divorce process and do the right thing by them.
More recently, I have met solicitors who have taken up counselling courses with the sole purpose of acquiring softer skills which they believe will not only make them more aware of the emotions that their clients are going through, but they will also obtain knowledge and skills on how to manage and work with these powerful emotions.
When I went through my divorce, I experienced the “not-very-nice” solicitor and the “very-happy-to-recommend-anytime” solicitor.
All what the first solicitor wanted was blood and money. My wishes and wants didn’t matter so much unless they involved some sort of conflict. I can tell you, that this firm could extract and generate conflict in Utopia if necessary! They wouldn’t even need an army to do so.
After just a couple of very uncomfortable meetings with this firm, which left me feeling so emotionally, physically and mentally drained, I decided to move on.
The tactic that this new firm employed, was gentle yet firm and assertive! They never once fanned the flames of my anger and resentment. They listened as I spoke about how horrible I thought I my ex had been but focused on what was important, the divorce and my daughter.
If I suggested going down a route that was only going to cause more aggravation to the already volatile situation, they would not only discourage me from doing so, but they would come up with a different solution to the same problem that would be less confrontational.
This new movement by family lawyers towards people awareness, as slow as it is, will definitely, definitely play a role in how families living separately turn out. This then means that there will be children out there whose lives will be less affected by the outcome because their parents’ solicitor treated them more like people going through a major change in their lives than a case number that will help finance their lifestyle.
Family solicitors should be the voice of the child not in the room; the people whom, in the midst of heavy bombardment of adverse words and actions, the children can indirectly rely upon to make sure that despite their parents’ war, someone is looking out for them and wants to make sure they will continue to see both parents and that they will not be used as pawns in this life-changing game.
As Ben Lawson so aptly puts it, “For that reason, amongst others, it is incredibly important that we are able to offer honest and practical advice to clients, giving consideration not only to what our client wants, but also pointing out that what they decide will inevitably impact on their children.”
Soila is a Parenting Therapist, accredited Triple P practitioner, Certified Trauma Specialist and trained Family Mediator. She works in private practice mainly, but not exclusively, with families going through divorce and separation.