A Compassionate Approach to Family Law

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I read an interesting blog on LinkedIn recently quoting an entrepreneur named Bruce Kasanoff who said he believes compassion and boldness can coordinate.

Of course they can!! This is one reason I practice family law, and one reason I am known for being different than other divorce attorneys.

It never occurred to me that I couldn’t be both compassionate and an achiever – and I’ve always believed that divorce can be a compassionate process! Most people don’t, I know, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try to show up with both capacities and weave it into my work with clients.

One of the ways an entrepreneur can stand out from the competition is by listening to her instincts and living out her values. That’s what I try to do every day. And it’s not easy, believe me.

That post by Bruce, whom I don’t know but would like to meet, said, “Compassion creates meaning in our lives. Combine that with a drive to achieve big things and you will make the world a much better place.”

True, true.

I chose to build a career in family law because I wanted to help people. Particularly, families.

People come to me at a difficult time in their lives, wrapped up in emotions but with real needs to make a change and move forward productively. It’s imperative for a family law attorney to recognize the emotional state of their clients even as they proceed in a professional manner.

The truth is that any professional should bring compassion to their work. I don’t believe in separating personal and professional entirely. Of course, we don’t need to blur lines or take things personally when they’re really just business. But we don’t stop being human when we get to the office.

And in this line of work, you see good people at bad moments. There must be not only room for compassion, but a concerted effort to lead from your values and get your clients to do the same.

That’s one reason we use a fantastic tool called Our Family in Two Homes with every client who comes to Transitions Legal. It’s a resource that guides clients to articulate their values before they go deeper into their divorce process, preparing them for the decisions they will need to make and for the work they will do with us. That way, they can proceed from a place of values and clarity and minimize the number of mistakes or hurdles along the way.

Think about where you might be able to infuse your work with compassion – and what the impact might be on the success of your work, and also your connection with your clients.

Never Say Never, Never Say Always

Never Say Never, Never Say Always

Never Say Never, Never Say Always

Someone recently mentioned that in a lead-in for an earlier blog I posted to LinkedIn, I said: “The decision to divorce is never easy.” He was going to comment that for him, it WAS easy!

We shared a laugh but it made me think about the saying above . . .

I know a rabbi who advises couples about to be married to never say never, never say always. When arguing, he says, because you will argue, try to avoid the words “never” and “always.” These words only get you in trouble.

Similarly, when you’re in the process of divorcing, I recommend never saying never and never saying always. Couples make a lot of decisions when they divorce. They have to negotiate a settlement, parenting time, so many details, which become impossible to work out if you dig your heels in and spout absolutes like never and always.

In the heat of the divorce, with hurt and bitterness swirling around (as it does for some people), you may feel one way. And it’s hard to imagine that in a year or two or six, you might soften and not care so much about this one point as you do today.

Hence the advice to never say never, never say always.

Think about it. I’ll never do this, I’ll never agree to that, I always have this holiday…

These statements only dig a hole to bury yourself in. Perhaps one year, your ex-spouse has that holiday. Or maybe at some point in the future you won’t care so much about this or that. Why corner yourself, or your spouse, or the future of your children?

It’s so important to maintain as open a perspective as you can when going through a divorce. For both parties.

If you want to reach a settlement that you are both comfortable with, banish the words never and always. Stay as open as you can. Push the hurt aside, put it in a corner. At least temporarily.You limit yourself with never and always. Why set limits for a new approach to life, when you really don’t have to?

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