If you are in a court battle with the person you once thought that you would spend the rest of your life, you may ask yourself how do you handle this? Where do I go from here? First, take a deep breath! Many people equate the emotions of divorce to the death of a spouse which include the five stages of grief. This is perfectly normal.
The Fifth District Court of Appeal explained: “Only the death of a spouse is generally reported to be more stressful for adults than divorce; separation and divorce are consistently rated more stressful than going to jail, losing a job, personal injury, illness, mortgage foreclosure, and all other distressing life experiences except the death of a spouse…”
The five stages of grief are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. So, how do you handle this stressful and life changing period? Recognize that it’s OK to have different feelings. It’s normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated, and confused—and these feelings can be intense. You also may feel anxious about the future. Accept that reactions like these will lessen over time. Even if the marriage was unhealthy, venturing into the unknown is frightening. Give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time. You may not be able to be quite as productive on the job or care for others in exactly the way you’re accustomed to for a little while. No one is superman or superwoman; take time to heal, regroup, and re-energize. Don’t go through this alone. Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help you get through this period. Consider joining a support group where you can talk to others in similar situations. Isolating yourself can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration, and get in the way of your work, relationships, and overall health. Don’t be afraid to get outside help if you need it. Seek professional assistance. This is an extremely important step. Seek out professional assistance in the form of a therapist, financial advisor, and a lawyer. You will want these professionals to help you navigate through these tough times so that you can come out the other side with as little damage as possible so that you move on with your life. A family lawyer can protect your legal rights, a financial advisor can protect your financial interest and a therapist is the best professional to provide for your emotional needs.
Even if your lawyer doesn’t have any formal mental health training, it is important for the lawyer to make an initial assessment regarding which stage you are in. It will bear upon your relationship with your attorney. For example, a client who is still in denial may be unable to make decisions required in the legal process. That makes the job of lawyering an especially difficult one.
If you are feeling depression and anxiety, simple things like filling out mandatory forms may seem impossible. Look for the following characteristics of depression; general inability to concentrate and retain information, emotional reactiveness, frequent irritability, crying, and struggles to make decisions.
If you feel like this describes someone you know, and it is having a negative impact on you, call us for a consultation. We can help. Jackson Hilliard has been practicing law in the Tampa Bay area for over ten years. He not only knows Family Law, he knows how hard it can be to go through a divorce on an emotional level. Jackson Hilliard, and the staff at Hilliard Law, P.L., may be just the right team for you.