Tag: counseling

How do I get help with a divorce?

Asking a question on Quora is a start and better than doing nothing (as so many people contemplating divorce do when they are too afraid to do anything), but only a start. Still, good for you for taking that crucial (though scary) first step. So what should you do next? 

    • Make sure that divorce is what you need. 
      • Far too many people mistakenly believe divorce is the answer, only to discover after the divorce that their marriages or their spouses were never really the problem in the first place. 
      • Schedule a few sessions with a counselor or therapist for yourself, to make sure that you are in the right frame of mind. 
        • If you believe it would help, and if your spouse is receptive, go to couples counseling too. Dig deep to determine whether your marriage truly is irretrievably broken. 
    • As with all professionals, therapists and counselors are not all created equal. If you get the impression that the therapist or counselor you are currently meeting with is a hack, find someone else. Be honest enough with yourself to know when you’re dealing with someone who’s advice and guidance is what you need, even if it may be what you don’t want to hear. 
    • Recognize that you are a child of God and that he wants to help you, Your spouse, and your children (if you have children) through this difficult time. Seek Him out, and ask for His help. 

If you determine that divorce is necessary: 

  • Keep getting the counseling or therapy you need, if you still need it. 
  • Keep seeking God’s guidance and help. No matter how bad your spouse may be, don’t make a bad situation worse by acting out of fear, despair, anger, vengeance, and greed. Don’t let divorce strip you of your decency. 
  • Read books and articles, watch videos, and listen to podcasts, but do so with a plan and purpose in mind. 
    • Read, watch, and listen to a lot. This will not be a matter of several hours, or even several days worth of work and studying, but weeks and months (perhaps even years). Do any less than that, and you will not be as prepared for divorce as you need to be. Period. The unprepared struggle the most, worry the most, and fail the most in divorce. And if you are wondering, no, there are no shortcuts. 
    • Reading two or three articles on child custody will not give you the grounding you need in the subject. Watching some angry, bitter guy on YouTube complain about child support and alimony may be somewhat informative, but will certainly not give you a completely accurate explanation of the subject. Listening to some boring podcast by some self-proclaimed but mediocre “expert” is not enough. I will note, however, that it is very good to get a sampling of A wide range of information and advice, because it will help you distinguish between what is of high quality and worth and what is not. 
    • Find the good material. Don’t waste time on the fluff and the outright garbage. There is so much free stuff available to you that it is easy to consume a lot of useless, or worse, that information and advice. Not everything you read, watch, and listen to will be of equal quality. Not everything you read or watch will be of good quality. With this in mind, remember that someone who has written a book or a published article has probably taken a far more care and attention to provide you with something of real substance and value than he or she who records a quick video clip in the car on a smart phone or who just rambles for 90 minutes in a podcast. In my experience, published written material is best, followed by well produced videos that are truly informational and that are not trying to sell you a product or service, followed by podcasts. 
    • Pay attention to what you are consuming. Eventually, you will reach a point where you will start noticing that the information you are getting is repeating itself. You will start to see some patterns emerge, and you will start to understand the subject of divorce better. At that same time, if you are being thoughtful, you will start to develop the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s when you know that your self-study has succeeded. Don’t stop studying at that point, but know that you have at that point gained a solid and useful understanding of divorce. 
  • Be smart enough to realize that it’s worth the money to meet with and discuss divorce with a knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced divorce attorney. An hour or two will be enough. 
    • The best time to meet with and confer with an attorney would be after you’ve spent an hour or two each day for about a week doing your best to learn about divorce on your own. This will help you to know what the good questions are you should ask of the attorney to determine just how skilled and knowledgeable the attorney is and how useful his or her observations, opinions, and advice are. It will help you to know what subjects to focus on with the questions you ask. 
  • Once you’ve learned what you can and should be doing to prepare for divorce, then you need to do that, and doing that as soon as possible, so that you are as well prepared as you can be before you file for divorce or before your spouse files for divorce. 
    • The better prepared you are, the more confidently you can take the right action. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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What is the penalty for breaking a custody order?

What is the penalty for breaking a custody order?

In my opinion, the answer is: usually, not much. At least at first.

Take it from me: I’ve been a divorce and family lawyer now for 23 years and most (most, not all) courts don’t really do as much as people feel they should do to ensure that there will be hell to pay if child custody orders are violated (especially if the violator is the mother).

Harsh words, I know. Politically incorrect words, yes? And still no less true.

What can the penalties be for violating child custody orders? Generally speaking:

  • fines
  • compensatory service (like picking up trash on the interstate, volunteering at soup kitchens, etc.)
  • jail (only in the most egregious cases, if the court has the will to impose it)
  • orders that the noncompliant parent submit to counseling and/or take parenting and anger management classes and other such nonsense

Now if one repeatedly and unrepentantly violates custody orders with impunity the court could respond by modifying the custody order, but for that to occur the violations usually have to be highly voluminous and/or egregious.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Does an ongoing divorce make one a lame duck at work?

I believe what you mean to ask is, “Does an ongoing Divorce make you unable to focus and be productive at work?” The answer to that question is: for most people, yes.

When Divorce Increases Productivity at Work

Some people actually find that a divorce makes them more productive at work because they find that their jobs give them something to take their minds off the divorce and a purpose into which to channel all of the energy and effort that would otherwise be wasted on worry, anxiety, and rage. But I find these people to be in the minority of divorce litigants.

When Divorce Decreases Productivity and Work Quality

Your question is better than you might have imagined. You ask a very important question because many people going through divorce do not realize until it’s too late what a deleterious effect the divorce is having on the quality of their work and/or their productivity on the job. I’ve known more than one person to lose his or her job as one of the unforeseen consequences of divorce.

If you are going through a divorce, make sure that you find some way to deal with the strain outside of work, so that you don’t end up taking it to work only to find that it places your livelihood in jeopardy.

What to do?:

I don’t like exercise, but when I exercise I can see that I can handle physical and emotional stress better. If divorce is driving you to distraction, get some exercise. It strengthens your ability to deal with stress, and it helps you get a better nights sleep.

Go to church. One of the primary purposes of church is to provide comfort to the suffering. If your divorce is causing you suffering, except the comfort the church offers. Hear inspiring messages of hope and forgiveness. Bask in the brotherhood of your fellow parishioners. Take your minister up on his or her offers to confer and counsel with you privately, if and when needed. Avail yourself of opportunities to provide service to others in need. Paradoxically, we feel so much better when we take the focus off our own pain in our efforts to relieve the pain of others.

Seek professional therapy or counseling help. Many of you reading this may think “I’m just going through a divorce, I’m not mentally ill,” but the fact is that for most people divorce takes a greater toll on them psychologically and emotionally then they imagine. Divorce literally can drive you crazy, if not permanently, then on a temporary basis at the very least. For those of you who are skeptical, you must look at it this way: if therapy or counseling is not for you, then put that question to the test by attending two or three therapy or counseling sessions. If you find that it does you no good, you can conclude that it’s not for you. But if you find that it is helping, you’ll be glad you had the humility to get this kind of help that you need.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Mental Health Professionals: How to Make Good (and honest) Use of Them in Divorce and Child Custody

Many spouses and parents going through a divorce and child custody case may believe there is value in using mental health professionals. This can be true, if you use mental health professional services correctly. This is a case of the right tool for the job.

Whether they help you and your children by counseling with you outside of the court proceedings or help by providing expert witness analysis and testimony in the court case itself, they can provide valuable help. But first, you need to understand what mental health professionals can and cannot do and what they are willing and unwilling to do for you.

Used properly, mental health professional services can ease the pain of divorce for parents and children alike. Used properly, mental health professional services can clarify and strengthen your case in court.  But too often I see litigants using mental health professional in clumsy, ham-fisted, malicious, and counter-productive ways.

This October 16, 2018 article from Family Lawyer Magazine explains this distinction very well, and I commend it to anyone who wonders whether he/she should utilize the services of a mental health professional and how to do so effectively.

Mental-Health Professionals & High-Conflict Divorce: 7 Pitfalls to Avoid
From: Family Lawyer Magazine

Mental-Health Professionals & High-Conflict Divorce: 7 Pitfalls to Avoid

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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