My family law clients are usually living life under difficult circumstances, and they are certainly not alone in what they are going through. Clients are facing a breakup in the family system, typically having suffered a traumatic event in their life that has been triggered in the current conflict. Family clients may have experienced sexual abuse, rape, verbal abuse, or some other significant breach in their personal and family system’s safety net. Other situations may be more complex based on today’s political and pandemic conditions. Any combination can exacerbate an individuals’ reactions to the world around them, let alone a breakdown in relationship with a loved one.
The relational breakdown leaves one unable to continue in an intimate and empowering relationship with their partners. Experience teaches that we find the abuser came from a family of abuse. A person with a drinking or substance abuse problem may have had a parent who suffered similar addictions. Having an awareness, an understanding and compassion for oneself in these situations is key to a client’s capacity to navigate through a highly charged family breakup.
When a client appreciates how these prior events in their lives impact their current conflict, it is extremely helpful for them being fully present in the legal process. In circumstances when a client cannot see the causal relationship between an earlier trauma and their current situation, there is still the possibility they can gain the necessary resources and capacity to move with agility through the family breakup. Of course, not possessing either quality, does not disqualify a client from having a smoother transition through the legal process, it does mean that there may be some resistance and reactivity, that might not otherwise occur. Most domestic relations’ law experts say there is a reciprocal effect between the level of reactivity and the legal costs towards a settlement. In other words the more you invest in yourself-care and wellbeing, the lower the costs of the proceedings.
My work with clients is informed by the Japanese art of Kintsugi or repairing broken vessels. The Japanese artist is capable of sealing together broken chards from a vase with gold inlay, causing a more beautiful entity to form than before. In my experience the marriage of the law and trauma are intertwined. The Bar Associations owe a responsibility to finding ways to truly resolve conflict while implementing law and order.
My family law practice forms such a union where each individual client feels that they are more whole and ready for a new start. This process holds the possibility that family members would offer you best wishes and blessings for this new start on life. Each client knows that they have moved through an important stage in their lives, they appreciate where they have come from, trust that the best process was used to settle their issues, and the best possible solutions resulted.