NEW YORK, May 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Val Kleyman, Esq., a New York divorce lawyer with the The Kleyman Law Firm, issues a warning to divorce lawyers: be careful not to cross over into the role of personal therapist for clients. This is a common problem that does not get enough attention.
The divorce process can be very stressful and take a serious emotional and psychological toll on spouses and their children, in addition to the long-term stress of having lived in a failing marriage. Divorce lawyers are often the first professionals that divorcing spouses encounter, and are thus often the first person the spouse has the opportunity to talk to about the situation. “Most people seeking divorce walk into my office and start telling me what hurts them. They are angry and sad. They want someone to help them and make them feel better. Naturally, I want to help, but this is not what I was trained to do,” Kleyman said.
Divorce attorneys are trained to deal with the legal side of dissolution of marriages – such as division of property, custody arrangements, and litigation of family matters in court. Divorce lawyers are not trained to help people deal with their personal feelings and emotions stemming from failed relationships. This is a job that is performed by therapists and it’s important not to blur the lines when divorce lawyers counsel clients.
“Divorce lawyers are the love undertakers. Unlike marriage counselors and therapists whose job it is to save relationships and help people heal, our job is to bury dead marriages quickly and efficiently before their toxicity spreads any further,” says Kleyman.
“Helping someone deal with their emotions, feelings and mental health is a very serious undertaking and must only be done by professionals who are trained and experienced doing this,” he continued. “The wrong approach and advice can have detrimental consequences to clients. Family lawyers must recognize the boundaries of their training and expertise and be sure to guide their clients to seek counseling from qualified professionals.”
At the same time, divorce lawyers must remain sensitive and understanding of the emotional issues in divorce to properly represent their clients. Kleyman stated: “Divorce law is highly intertwined with psychology. As divorce attorneys, we must listen carefully, recognize potential issues and help clients by crafting legal strategy that is cognizant of their emotional well-being during and after divorce.” It is a fine and difficult line to walk.