Monday, March 26, 2012

Legal Advice vs. Life Advice

As a divorce lawyer, I encounter individuals who have been thrust into uncertainty.  Their whole world has been turned upside down, inside out, etc.  Everything they knew before their divorce has changed.  Most people going through divorce are going through it for the first time and have no idea what to expect.  They have no idea what will happen next.  They have no idea what the consequences will be for the decisions they make.  Most people are concerned that they might make a mistake if they say or do something wrong.  And then they ask me for advice.

I often find myself in a difficult position because clients ask me for advice about things that don't necessarily involve legal advice.  I understand the reason they ask me.  Divorce is difficult.  The person you are divorcing may also be difficult.  You don't get to a divorce because you agree with your spouse or because you get along.  And the issues you have disagreements about usually involve the most important things in your life: children, money, home, relationships with those you love, etc.

Sometimes, I have to simply tell my clients that they have to make these difficult decisions on their own.  My advice can only go so far.  I cannot live their life for them.  I can advise them of the consequences of their decisions but ultimately the decision is theirs.  I can listen to their concerns and help talk them through the thought process of their decision.  But I am only a lawyer.

Keep in mind that your lawyer is a lawyer, not a psychologist, not a counselor, and not an instruction manual for life.  Live your life.  Try to find happiness again.  You have to do that for yourself.


Anonymous said...

I'd be happy to talk to any of your clients about the emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual side of divorce.


Ryan said...

Thanks, Sean. You'd be an excellent person for them to talk to for many reasons. If any of my readers ask me about you, I'll send them your way.

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