Divorce isn't easy. Over the past fourteen years, I have been practicing family law and have always appreciated the difficulty my clients go through during the divorce process. However, it wasn't until this past two weeks that I had the opportunity to take off my attorney hat and feel the sting of divorce. A very close friend of mine is going through the process in a different jurisdiction and she called me for support and guidance.
In speaking with her for several hours, I found myself immersed in emotion. When she was angry, I was angry. When she was sad, I was sad. As I was riding the roller-coaster with her, from time to time she asked for my advice. Even though my career has focused on my family law practice, unconsciously I gave her advice as a supporter and as a friend. While I was being very supportive, I didn't realize until this past weekend that I probably was not helping. I realized that I was fueling the emotion and not being very objective. A divorce attorney's job is to protect the client's interest, to give objective advice and to get their client through the divorce process as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Divorce is difficult for the litigant as well as the litigant's family and friends which makes being objective challenging for them.
In short, I experienced first hand that the best person to give a divorce litigant advice is his or her divorce attorney--advice I often give to my clients. After all, that is what you pay an attorney to do--give objective advice. I think that my friend will be far better off using me to vent but getting her advice from her attorney.