Many, though not all, divorcing clients experience a variety of emotions when their marriage ends, such as fear, anger, hurt, anxiety or even depression. They may have to endure constant conflict at home; they may be losing sleep or have deep concerns about how their children will handle the news of the impending divorce.
As a result of the emotions surrounding a breakup, divorce clients are not generally at their best. Attorneys need to keep this in mind as they approach the first client meeting.
Lawyers should try to make their divorce clients as comfortable as possible, which may require the following:
- compassion – attorneys are not therapists, but they should be sensitive to their client’s emotional states
- clear and careful explanations of things - don't just rattle off complex legal theories, statutes and caselaw
- avoid excessive legal jargon - it may be a challenge for some clients to understand
- handouts - divorce clients may have a hard time concentrating or remembering everything a lawyer says; it’s helpful to provide handouts of what was discussed during the meeting, which clients can read later.