DO understand that if you’re feeling sad, angry, anxious, lost or helpless, you are experiencing the normal emotions most people have when going through a divorce, custody battle or other family legal issue.
DO seek help from a qualified counselor if you feel you need help with emotional distress. Also seek support from friends and family. When family break-ups or disagreements become legal matters, the process is usually emotionally challenging. Choose productive ways to deal with your distress. Resist the temptation to turn to less positive coping options such as drugs or alcohol – a DUI on your record could be costly in many ways, particularly in a custody case.
DO choose an attorney who is compassionate to your emotional needs. While it is not his or her job to be your psychotherapist, an attorney who understands and empathizes with your situation can make the family legal process less stressful. A good, supportive client-attorney relationship helps insure a positive legal resolution to your case.
DON’T lose control of your emotions when dealing with your ex-spouse. Be as reasonable as you can. Becoming frustrated or angry and striking out rarely accomplishes anything good and most often complicates the situation for you.
DON’T exacerbate tensions by talking negatively about your spouse, especially around your children and around other people – even people who are not directly involved.
DON’T draw lines in the sand, make threats or issue ultimatums when dealing with your ex-spouse. Never use violence or physical force. Using these tactics could result in a protective order against you which restricts your freedom and reflects badly on you to the Court.
DON’T let an ex-spouse purposefully anger you into reacting inappropriately over the phone so they can record it and use it against you. If this begins to happen, just say goodbye and hang up. If the altercation occurs in person – likely in front of a witness for your ex – you win the game by just saying goodbye and leaving immediately without comment.