Laurel’s Law

  • Jun. 13, 2011 2:00 p.m.

How to address the emotional issues involved in family litigationBy Laurel Hudson, Barrister and SolicitorOne of the most frequent things I encounter as a family lawyer is my clients’ fear – fear of the unknown, fear of losing their children, fear of financial upset and loss.Addressing their fear is a high priority for family law lawyers, as they work to ensure their clients cope with their litigation and make wise decisions throughout its duration.Please read the article I posted to my website at, http://www.hudsonlaw.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=65:laurel-hudson-barrister-a-solicitor&catid=45:famlaw&Itemid=78 entitled, “You’ve been served with family court documents. What’s next?”I recommend readers review that previous article along with this one because it provides more substantive, procedural information than this article does regarding how to handle a newly commenced family matter.This article, by contrast, is meant to suggest ways for litigants to cope with the emotional issues involved in family litigation.Obtain counseling or a doctor’s help, if requiredLawyers are not counselors or doctors. Lawyers do not have the professional training to offer their clients support that a counselor, or doctor can.Family lawyers usually suggest, often at the first meeting they have with their clients, that the clients ensure they are taking care of themselves emotionally.If that means a client requires counseling or medical help, the lawyer will usually recommend accessing such help and usually provide related contact information. Ask your lawyer to help you take steps to remain safeLitigants should remember that they are safe, or that if they do not feel safe, their lawyers are available to give them advice about steps litigants can take to increase their safety. Such steps can involve for example lawyers helping their clients apply for family court restraining orders, no-attend-at-the-family-residence orders, or leave-upon-request type orders, all available through the family court.Such steps can also involve, in extreme circumstances, lawyers connecting clients with the police and/or with shelters for abused spouses and their children.Remember the litigation will ultimately endLitigants should remember that their family matters will eventually draw to a close. As tough as that might be to see in the short term, it’s true. Once a family court matter has resolved, either via the more common out-of-court settlement or via judgment at a contested hearing or trial, litigants are usually able to move on with their lives more quickly than they anticipated would be the case.Express your emotions, but preferably do it in a counselor’s office or with a trusted friendIt is okay for family litigants to feel afraid, sad, and angry. What’s important however is for litigants to choose the appropriate manner in which to express their feelings, particularly anger, which is usually not in front of their children. Ideally litigants should express their feelings in a counsellor’s office or with a trusted friend or family member.The views expressed are those of Laurel Hudson only and are not intended to be, nor should they be construed to constitute, legal advice.Laurel Hudson is a family law, criminal defence, and civil litigation lawyer in Smithers, serving the BC northwest, including Haida Gwaii.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CHN, province reach ‘milestone’ tree cutting agreement, reducing annual cut by 13%

Haida Gwaii Management Council has determined new allowable annual cut of 804,000 cubic metres

VIDEO: B.C. artist filmed apocalyptic timelapse on Haida Gwaii

Tasha Lavdovsky footage symbolizes sea level rise; featured in Ora Cogan music video for ‘Sleeping’

‘Haida Modern’ doc on Robert Davidson to stream online in June

Award-winning documentary will premiere on Knowledge Network June 2

Some restaurants on Haida Gwaii hosting dine-in guests again

Queen B’s, Oceanview offering limited seating; barbershop in Queen Charlotte also reopened this week

Haida Gwaii woman with intestinal mass worried elective surgeries ‘being forgotten’

With no commercial flights to YVR, Tanya Lavallee says it’s taking her too long to see a specialist

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for all Canadians, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Most Read