Divorce is never pretty. People fight over everything from the heirloom china to the $200 end table from Ikea. But things move to a whole new level of messy when child custody gets involved.
Child custody lawyers argue far beyond what’s written in black and white in the law books, and the emotional toll can be hard to cope with. Read on to learn how to deal with the emotional side of these cases.
The Emotional Impact
Working in family law can be hard at the best of times. You’re dealing with people in their worst moments, and too often things devolve into screaming matches and name-calling. Your job is to maintain a level head and use the cool logic of the law to solve the problem.
But when children are involved, all that goes out the window. You may have a child who wants to stay with a parent they legally can’t, an abusive parent who’s manipulating the child and the system, or even two abusive parents and a child who may end up living with relatives they haven’t met before. These cases can start to affect you on a personal level.
Take Care of Yourself
The most important thing when you’re working on difficult custody cases is to take care of yourself. You can’t do your job as an objective moderator if you’re strung out and traumatized. So take extra time to focus on self-care and putting down those worries for a while.
Spend time around your family, friends, and loved ones, and with your children, if you have them. Go to a workout class, focus on eating well, and be sure to get plenty of sleep. Take time to read a book just for fun, take a long bubble bath, go on a walk, or curl up on the couch and watch a few episodes of your favorite TV show.
Leave Work at Work
As much as you can, try to leave your work at work. We know these cases follow you home sometimes, but to the extent you can, try not to actually work on them while you’re at home. This will help train your brain to focus on those cases while you’re at the office and to let them go when you walk in the front door of your home.
Learn How to Manage Emotional Custody Cases
Managing custody cases can be enormously emotionally draining. It’s important that you take time to care for yourself so you can make sure your clients – including the children involved in the case – get the best and fairest outcome. And when it gets to be time to go home, leave that work at the office, knowing you’ve done the best you can for the day.
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