The Emotional Effects of Divorce

I have this amazing client, we will call her “Mary”. She and her husband have worked hard together over the last 35 years to amass a large marital community. They have largely worked out all the details of their divorce and have managed to keep a solid relationship in tact for the benefit of their adult children. From the outside, this looks like the perfect way to divorce. And yet….

Mary and I were speaking the other day and she said, “Billie, I have to tell you, I am not doing well. I’m actually falling apart.” She went on to describe feeling overwhelmed, trapped, and a bit lost. She said she was drinking too much and was not able to accomplish much during the day. She was considering checking into rehab in order to get some support. She said she had stopped drinking for a week, but was still feeling lost and depressed. On top of her divorce, she was preparing for a major surgery and trying to quit smoking.

Mary’s insight is remarkable. She recognized that she was struggling and needed some support and guidance to tackle all of the challenges and transitions she was facing. She knew I couldn’t be that resource but also knew that, as her attorney, I needed to know how she was doing emotionally.

All clients experience a certain level of what Mary was describing. Going through a divorce is a huge life transition. Even “easy” divorces are not easy. I encouraged Mary to get whatever level of support she needed. If she needed in-patient rehab, we could do that. If she needed a counselor who worked with both divorce, life transitions and addiction, we could do that. Divorce support groups exist all over the valley. Mary doesn’t have minor children, so  if she determines that in-patient rehab is right for her, it will not negatively effect her case. That isn’t always true. Please include your attorney in your discussions and decisions.

The other benefit in having Mary talk to me about her struggles is that I was able to plug her in to the network of professionals we work with here at Modern Law. Since almost all of our clients need emotional support, we have worked hard to create a network of professionals who can provide support for our clients, all over the valley.

No one makes good decisions when operating in a highly emotional state. If I know a client is emotionally undone, it is not the time to enter into a settlement agreement. Divorce is not a fast process and there is no need to enter into a binding decision that may not be in your best interest in the height of emotional turmoil. In fact, many many people end up settling their case in an unfavorable manner just to make the situation stop. They almost always regret the choices they have made. For instance, I have witnessed unrepresented women who have no job waive spousal maintenance and take on massive debt with no ability to pay to support themselves. I have witnessed men enter into non-modifiable spousal maintenance agreements for monthly payments they cannot make. I have witnessed people waive their rights to hundreds of thousands in community property, just to make litigation stop. These consequences can be life changing and they are preventable.

No matter what your emotional struggles, know that you are not alone. Reach out to your friends, family, church and community and please, keep your attorney updated on how your are doing. By getting the right amount of support during your divorce, we can help ensure a long term favorable outcome.

To speak with an experienced attorney, call us today 480-649-2905.