Upstream Without a Paddle

How to keep yourself afloat during separation!

Family lawyers typically talk legalese to their clients. After all law school is great at teaching about legislation, precedents, procedures and case law. This would be perfect if family law clients were robots!

Kind of like, but not quite, the situation involving some doctors, brilliant diagnosticians, with crappy dispositions, and pathetic bedside manners (a la House?).

The main difference is that unlike family law clients the role of the medical patient has always been to take direction, while the primary role of the family law client is to give direction.

Unfortunately however, as I have experienced over many years as a family lawyer, family law clients are often emotionally incapable of providing good direction to their family lawyer.

This is not surprising since separation itself often triggers intense and overwhelming emotional shock and trauma, while the family law system only multiplies the feelings of hopelessness and despair.

Since I have always been, and remain a firm believer that the client not their lawyer, makes the choices in their own family law matter, once provided the available legal options and alternatives, a client unable to make good choices imperils their own best interests.

This is why I am an advocate for anyone experiencing separation and divorce to obtain emotional support and counselling in conjunction with receiving good legal support.

One without the other is like a boat without a paddle. Trust me; you definitely do not want to be up this legal stream without a paddle. And throwing yourself overboard is not recommended.

This is also why I started the support group, a place where people can find professional guidance along with the support of others in the same boat!











Happy New You! Part 1


Great resolutions – if you’re separating – and how to keep them!

Making New Year’s resolutions is naturally big this time of year. Although according to a psychologist I heard on the radio, much harder to make than to keep, with 80% of resolutions failing within the first two weeks.

But I don’t think it takes a psychologist to tell us that most resolutions fail; I mean there is an obesity epidemic after all, and half of marriages end in divorce.

So here is the first of three New Year’s resolutions I suggest you think about making, if you’re experiencing, or seriously considering, separation or divorce, with some important advice, to help you keep them.

Resolution #1Take care of yourself (and your kids.)

I shop for Kleenex at Costco for a simple reason. Breaking up is hard to do. But I’ve also discovered after many years of advising, and representing, my family law clients that very few actually take any steps to obtain supportive counselling while suffering tremendous stress and strain.

Sure knowing your legal rights is crucial (see Resolution #2 to follow) but unless you receive effective emotional support, and feel confident about yourself, and your choices, you’re less likely to make good legal decisions.

I’m a long time advocate for family law clients to explore both group and personal counselling, because I know it works! For more information about the counselling advantages of my support group (and testimonials) visit my site at 

Also don’t ignore the profound impact of separation and divorce on any children. They should also receive, at the very least, a professional assessment to see how they’re dealing with it all.

Because such an assessment is not intended as a tool to provide an advantage to either party in the event that custody is contested, there should be no problem for you and your spouse to agree that the children’s best interests demand such professional attention and evaluation.