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Divorce doulas do I need one?

Divorce Doulas: Do you need one?

I read an article last month about the rise of separating couples hiring divorce doulas to assist them through the divorce process. As a family lawyer who has practiced in this area for many years, my immediate reactions were

“Oh for the love of…”

 “What training do these people have?!”  

“How can they assist in appropriately setting expectations without going to law school, practicing in this specific area, and understanding how everything fits together?!”

“This is a cash grab!”

Warning: my thoughts on divorce mediators who have never practiced in the area of Family Law are about the same… but that’s for another post.

There is no doubt that our roles often feel like a combination of counselor and lawyer, but what is in the best interest of our clients is if we stick to providing legal advice, giving options, stellar drafting, education, and non-emotional advocacy. A good lawyer is the thermostat, not the thermometer – our role is to control the temperature in the room, not react to it, or experience it with our clients.  One of the biggest problems in practicing family law is disabusing clients of ideas they get from uninformed sources and trying to minimize or undo the harm caused by them following those ideas. Your friend’s divorce is not your divorce. What they learned there may not fit for you.  Would you choose a surgeon whose qualifications are they were once a surgical patient?

The role of divorce doula (whatever that is) should be left in the trusted hands of our friends and trained professionals: PSYCHOLOGISTS. And let me tell you, we have so many fabulous psychologists in our city.  There are psychologists trained to work with separating couples, children of separating couples, clients experiencing addictions issues, attachment issues, anger issues (and the list goes on and on).  Further, their hourly rate often less than a divorce lawyer’s, and they are worth every penny. 

If you were my friend or loved one my advice would be to find yourself a lawyer that you are compatible with, along with a good psychologist or counsellor. That’s the ticket, friends!