Have you ever been through a court battle? If you have, and it felt like being put through a shredder, you are not alone. And you’re not alone in wishing it was somebody’s job to put you back together again after it was all over. Certainly, you will have found that there was no such person in the court system.

Most lawyers and other professionals who work in the family courts, including the judges, work hard at offering understanding. Lawyers and judges are not psychologists though, and they have a highly technical job to focus on. Even though it is your case, you can feel like a bystander to the discussions and activity that happen in a court room. Not only is the court building foreign to you, the court formalities are foreign too. The familiarity of the lawyers and judges in the court can make you feel like even more of an outsider.

A court room experience usually follows months or years of negotiations, mysterious letters from your lawyer, mysterious documents full of unheard of language being presented to you, and vast amounts of money being paid by you, usually without you being able to see any immediate value for it. When you actually arrive in court, it is highly stressful to have other people in charge of aspects of your life, when you know the outcome will never matter as much to them as it does to you. It is of course also highly stressful to be accused of having done or said something in the past, or to have your actions misinterpreted in a bad light.

Separation and Divorce are very stressful life events. A court case with your ex adds enormously to that stress. Under conditions of stress, people do not make their best decisions.

You won’t be able to change the way the lawyers and the courts work. They’ve been doing it that way for hundred of years.

You won’t be able to change the fact that the legal system doesn’t provide you with help to manage or reduce your stress. But the news is not all bad. There are many psychologists and counsellors who have the insight and training to know what it is like to be you, and it is their job to help you to understand your responses to what you are going through, and to teach you ways you can reduce your stress.

There are no medals for getting through it on your own, and your physical and emotional health will suffer less if you find help. Your GP, family, friends, colleagues, MELCA, Beyond Blue, Australian Psychological Society are examples of people and places who can refer you to a helpful psychologist or counsellor.