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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Stewart-Williams, MDR

Manage Stress in Family Court 2020

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

I pray that you are taking care of yourselves during these stressful times. Normally when I speak of stressful times, it is pertaining to the enduring processes of Family Court. The reality is stress in 2020 is heightened due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, and the social unrest that is occurring throughout the world. If you take the heightened stress of 2020 on top of the stresses that Family Court naturally produces, it can cause a tsunami of anxieties and emotions. So it is very important to recognize how to cope during this season.

Tips to Manage Stress in Family Court

Here are few general tips that can assist you while you are going through Family Court during 2020:

  • Do Not Miss Court Dates: I know that attending hearings are nerve wrecking, but missing court dates in the long run brings more anxiety than you can imagine. If Court Dates are hard to remember, ask a close friend or family member to assist you in putting hearings within a calendar that gives you a friendly reminder. In these times many hearings are online, do not be afraid to discuss with the Court (if self-represented), or your attorney what to expect with an online hearing. Be in attendance.

  • Remove Expectations: I have found that stress is relieved for many family court litigants when they remove expectations from the process in Family Court. Many times the worry of not meeting your expectation of the outcome determined by the Court can produce a great amount of stress. This does not mean remove the hope of a positive outcome, but rather encourages the reality that Judges control the outcome in hearings. You can only control what you can control, but if you do not like the out come there are options such as appeals. Limit stressing about the decisions of the Judge, which you can not control.

  • Take Time to REST: This means to rest your body and mind. Take the time to stop thinking and discussing anything that stresses you. I know this is difficult, but when your mind is rested you are able to think clearer and deal with issues that may be ahead.

  • Get HELP if Needed: You may need to speak with someone if you still feel overwhelmed. Many times people do not understand the immense stress of going through the Family Court process, and take lightly the weight that may be on their shoulders. There are so many different emotions that a person goes through during this process that it is ok to take the time to recognize and address those emotions. Never be afraid or hesitate to speak with a Counselor or Therapist.

  • Eliminate As Much Conflict As You Can: Mediation helps you resolves disputes and is cost-efficient! As an Ombudsman, I hear all the time, "I am going to take them back to Court." Why spend your money, time, and energy to fight in court, which is a process you have no control over? In Family Court, Judges and Attorneys have complete control over your disputed outcome. The only process where you are in a decision making setting is in Mediations. In this setting you are encouraged to be heard, and supported in suggesting resolutions to issues you have presented. You may not get everything you want out of the mediation, but if committed to the process of mediation and the other party commits themselves to participate, there is potential to resolve issues and conflicts. This can help your case in the long run. Instead of going to court to fight over eight issues, go through mediation and you may only need to go to court for the Judge to decide one issue. Schedule your mediation today!

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