By: Devon Walke
Devon Walke is an Associate Attorney at WhitbeckBennett. He was born and raised in Oklahoma, never venturing too far from his hometown of Norman, attending the University of Oklahoma for both undergraduate studies and law school. While in law school, Devon was a member of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Inn of Court. To learn more about Mr. Walke, click here.
Supporting A Loved One Struggling With Divorce: Part One – “What Can I Do To Help?”
While the practice of family law is far too often centered around families that are falling apart (i.e. divorce, custody proceedings, etc.), it can also be an opportunity to bring them together (i.e., adoptions, guardianships, etc.). Our attorneys can skillfully guide individuals through the tricky terrain associated with any of those situations referenced above, but our work is primarily done in the courthouse and at the office. Although that legal work is an undeniably necessary component of any divorce proceeding, there is a much less recognized aspect to every divorce, which takes place at home, yet is equally as important to the individual going through these monumental moments in life. The way we support our loved ones who are going through a divorce can significantly impact their transition mentally, emotionally, and financially.
Men and women going through divorce are forced to confront and come to terms with, the collapse of the most integral and intimate parts of their lives – their families. They suddenly find themselves facing an uncertain new reality and the emotional turmoil associated with it.
At WhitbeckBennett, our attorneys are compassionate and understanding and will listen to you as you explain the unique details surrounding the issues that you are confronting. We can provide the legal framework and execution you need to get you through the difficulties of divorce, but it is important to remember to take care of yourself – mentally, physically, and emotionally – during this tumultuous time. For that, don’t be afraid to look to your friends, family members, licensed therapists, mental health providers, and local support groups. Going through a divorce is a humbling experience, and often evokes unwanted feelings of failure and embarrassment. These negative emotions often make it very difficult to ask for help, but as an attorney who sees individuals struggling with this daily, the importance of taking that step cannot be emphasized enough. Likewise, our friends and family members must understand how they can lend that support in a truly productive, beneficial manner.
Divorce is so prevalent in our society today that, sadly, almost no one is unaffected by it at some point in their lives, whether directly or indirectly. Many of us know at least one good friend, family member, or co-worker who has gone through – or who will experience – a divorce. If that moment happens to be right now for you, there are a few things you can do to help that loved one or colleague who is presently confronted with a crisis. Most importantly, make them aware that you are there for them, when and if they need to talk. Don’t hide away from them – the negative connotation of divorce and loss of a spouse is surely weighing heavy on them, and they do not need friends and other family members alienating them as well. Reach out. Take the shame and embarrassment out of the air – nobody should be mired down in such negative emotions. Remind them that they are not alone (see above: divorce is ubiquitous in our society). Assure them that this storm will pass, and even though it may not feel like it now, things will eventually feel normal again; moments of joy, excitement, and fond memories will return. Divert their attention away from what is likely the only thing they think about 24/7; rather than dwelling on the dissolution taking place at home, get out and do something active or go somewhere new. Remind them that their marriage does not define them and provide certainty and consistency to those who are traversing this sea of change.
At WhitbeckBennett, you can trust that your loved one is in good hands with our attorneys – let us take care of the legal work in the office and at the courthouse, while you focus on supporting your loved ones at home. Working together, we will protect what matters most: family.