It’s no secret that being involved in a lawsuit is an extremely stressful process. It doesn’t matter if it’s a divorce, a custody battle, or a child support case. The one thing that unites everyone in a family law case is the stress it brings. Unfortunately, that stress can manifest itself in many ways, some of which can be a detriment to your case. This week I want to give you some methods to help manage that stress and for the well-being of both your case and your mental state.

One thing that the stress of a case can bring on are paranoid thoughts. You’re in a fight with the person who at some point thought you could trust the most, but now they’ve taken legal action against you, and you don’t trust a thing about them. I’ve seen clients start to believe they are being watched by the other party, that their electronic devices have been compromised, and that the other side is hiding large amounts of money from them. These things do happen in family law cases, so getting these feelings isn’t unusual. But the managing partner at the firm has a saying “focus on what we know, not what we feel” and what he means by this is that a lawsuit is decided on the facts of the case. We cannot simply go to a judge and tell them to rule our way because a client feels that they are being stalked. Without facts to substantiate the feelings, relief won’t come.

So, my method for dealing with those intrusive thoughts is to focus on what you know to be true, not what you think could be true. If you worried if the other parent is going to abuse or neglect the children while in their care, think about if they have ever done so before. If they haven’t, remind yourself of that whenever the thought pops up. If you’re worried about your spouse hiding assets tell your lawyers and they will use their resources to find the truth. Should your lawyers provide you documents showing that there is simply nothing to hide, trust that they have done their due diligence.

The stress of a case can also cause you to lash out at the other party when given the opportunity. This is a big one for your case, if you can help it do not do this. I understand that sometimes communicating with the other party is necessary, but if doing so causes you to fly into a fit of rage alternative methods need to be taken. For example, you can simply tell them to speak through your lawyer instead of you directly. You can expressly inform them that you will only be speaking with them regarding co-parenting for your children. If necessary, you can request that a co-parenting app be used in your temporary orders. This allows the attorneys of the parties to monitor the conversations, which could help it become more civil. The important thing is, if they attempt to pull you offsides, don’t take the bait.

What I want you to take away from this article is that stress in a case is normal. You aren’t crazy, you’re hurt. Anytime you find yourself in one of those high stress moments, take a step back, put the phone down, take a few deep breaths, find a lawyer you can trust, and focus on your goal.