Chandler, Britt & Jay, LLC.


(770) 271-2991

Everyone Needs A Therapist

If you are reading my post, chances are someone you previously trusted enough to create a life with has done something significant enough that you are ending that relationship, or they have decided to end your relationship with them.  You are dealing with the death of a relationship: a marriage, a committed relationship with a significant other, a co-parenting relationship.  You need to find a therapist you like and see them regularly.  This is just as important as finding a good, experienced attorney that you trust.  Your attorney is your guide through the legal system.  Your therapist is there to help you move on from the death of this relationship.  As I have said many times before, your family law attorney is there to help you create the best future for yourself possible.  You can’t have your best future if you haven’t healed from your past and don’t know what you want out of your future.

The biggest reason that people come back to me after their initial proceeding (divorce, legitimation, paternity case, etc.) is because one party never moved on from that case.  One or both parties are still hanging on to anger and hurt feelings from things that happened before or during that first case.  Since they can’t move on, it colors all their interactions with the other party, and the parties make bad decisions that impact their children or their prior spouse/ partner, and those bad decisions cause further legal battles.

Making the decision to go to therapy is not an admission that you are the one who did something wrong or that something is wrong with you.  Making the decision to go to therapy is an admission that you need someone to talk to that can help you navigate through the emotional issues you are having.  Even when you have resolved your emotional issues, if the other person has not, it can be very difficult to know how to communicate with them.  Maybe the other person in your family law case has serious mental health issues.  Therapists can help identify the other person’s issues and teach you skills to cope with and effectively communicate with the other person.  Once you have worked through these issues, it is easier to focus on the logical resolutions to the dispute.  This is the area your attorney should excel in.

In family law litigation, it is important to be the bigger person, as this makes the best impression on the judge and other court personnel involved in your case. Many decisions are left to the judge’s “discretion;” this is a legal term that means that there isn’t a strict rule for how the judge should make a decision, and the judge has to use their best judgment to make a decision based on the evidence and conduct of the parties.  When you have consistently been the bigger person, you have a distinct advantage over the other party in your case. In order for this to be possible, you have to have resolved your emotional trauma.  Go find a therapist you like. A therapist is cheaper and more qualified than your attorney to help you deal with the emotional trauma of family law litigation.

How to Prevent a Family Law Emergency

There is nothing quite like getting a phone call from a client at four o’clock on a Friday, with a visitation issue that has to be dealt with before the weekend. I know that my clients have tried to work this issue out with the other parent before calling me, but in almost every situation, if the parties had started talking about the issue earlier in the week, it would not have turned into a four o’clock problem. You know that saying about the five P’s — Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

If you are co-parenting a child or children, start a process where you email the other parent regularly.
1. Send an email setting out the children’s upcoming events, and what you believe the parenting schedule for the week should be. If there is an upcoming holiday, start the conversation about that holiday’s parenting time early. You can also include concerns you have about the child and copies of receipts that you need to be reimbursed for in the same email.
2. If you receive one of these emails, take time to really think through the issues and questions asked. Don’t fire off an answer before you check your schedule, the Parenting Plan, or whatever necessary resource.
3. BE RESPECTFUL in your communication with the other parent. I know I need to do another post on this but be brief and business-like in your email. Use the same language and care with the email as you do when emailing your boss or your most important customer. And, most importantly, delay sending an email when you feel emotional or upset. Take a few hours (or a day, if needed) to revisit the email before sending it to make sure your communication is something you wouldn’t mind a judge reading.

You may also want to think about getting a shared calendar with the other parent or using the calendar options available to you already. I did some research on shared calendars recently, and the regular digital calendar you already use is probably your best resource Did you know you can send an invitation to another person for events you set on your calendar on your phone? When you set an appointment for your child on your calendar, check and see if you can send an invitation to the other parent to the event that way everyone has the same information at the same time.

In Gwinnett County, we have an Advanced Co-Parenting Course available to everyone. It is also something that parties in some cases get ordered to take. This course is a small group counseling session where you talk about your communication problems with the other parent, and the counselor advises you on how to make things better. The Advanced Co-Parenting Course recommends regular communication with the other parent in a calm and reasoned way. This class is a great resource for learning the best way to communicate with the other parent (even when they won’t communicate with you).

So, the simple answer really is to communicate respectfully and regularly with the other parent. Hopefully, it will prevent future problems.