There is a Better Way to Divorce—What is Therapeutic Jurisprudence?

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida. In a traditional attorney-client relationship, a family law attorney representing a client may approach the divorce from an adversarial standpoint. This “me vs. you” approach, while sometimes offering more benefits to winners, comes with serious consequences. Children may be put in the middle of parental conflict, parents may have difficulty co-parenting children after a particularly contentious divorce, and the psychological and emotional fallout of an acrimonious divorce can hurt everyone involved. Additionally, the cost of a difficult divorce can place an immense burden on both parties involved.
According to the Florida Coastal Law Review, in adversarial divorce, couples may be encouraged to not speak and may file aggressive documentation in court that can further damage whatever relationship or friendship may have existed. Therapeutic Jurisprudence, on the other hand, considers a client’s psychological and mental health as wealth as a client’s financial and legal needs. A lawyer practicing therapeutic jurisprudence can inform a client of his or her rights, but also let a client know about the risks of taking a winner-take-all attitude toward divorce. In some cases, small compromises can lead to better results and a more sound co-parenting plan.
Therapeutic jurisprudence, as it relates to divorce acknowledges that money isn’t always everything. A child’s relationship with both parents matters, as does a child’s psychological well-being. Stress on parents and divorcing couples also has a value. In light of this, a family law attorney can review all assets, debts, and property and develop a plan that both parties may be able to accept.
Child custody questions and parenting plans are also challenging areas of divorce law. While Florida courts review child custody disputes from the perspective of the best interests of the child, parents who take their child custody disputes to court may find that the judge will issue a ruling that no parent wants. Because most parents are not happy to have the state dictate how they will parent their children, parents are wise to take a therapeutic jurisprudence approach to child custody and parenting plans. According to Oxford University Press, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, explains that children should have the right to form their own views and express their opinion regarding matters pertaining to their lives. This means that if a child is old enough to understand divorce, the child should also have the right to express his or her opinion on where he or she will live and how visitation will be arranged. Of course, parents will have to make the best decisions for their family, but children who feel that their wishes are being considered may fare better psychologically during the divorce.
Despite the benefits of therapeutic jurisprudence, not all family law attorneys practice it. The Family Law Department of KO Lawyers practice therapeutic jurisprudence, when possible. The decision to get divorced is challenging for individuals and for the children involved. There are ways to make the process less painful and less divisive. If you have an interest in peaceful divorce resolution, conscious uncoupling, or therapeutic jurisprudence, visit www.curtcowanlaw.com to learn more.

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