Keep calm and chocolate on

I like to have chocolate at the office for my clients. I have chosen to write about chocolate…not because I want to send you into diabetic shock, but because it is a good reminder to indulge in the good things and to take care of yourself when you are going through the difficult times of a family law case.

Chocolate increases the endorphins in your body, and it quite literally puts us in a state of euphoria that makes us more relaxed and better able to deal with stress. No wonder I love chocolate!

Exercise is also good to accomplish this affect…and exercise also helps burn off the chocolate. The point is this, take care of yourself, because you are the most important factor in winning your family law case.

Salena came to me a few years ago for a child custody modification case. She had gone with a different attorney in her divorce and had lost custody of her children—her husband was from an extremely wealthy family, and he outspent Salena. For certain, Salena could have gotten a better result with a better attorney, but that was water under the bridge. Now, Salena’s kids needed her, and Salena’s ex-husband cared little for the children, but instead wanted to avoid paying Salena a large amount of child support. After Salena hired me, it was on! Her ex-husband went with the same tactic, hiring an expensive downtown law firm to litigate the heck out of the case. Shortly after the first volley of litigation, before we had really started in earnest, all those painful memories of loss and disappointment came flooding back in for Salena. She came into my office that week a wreck. Stress had caused her to develop a slight palsy of her face, and she was having frequent, debilitating migraines. I said, “Wait a minute…you can’t go in front of the judge like this! You have got to take care of yourself first.”

I showed her that unlike her divorce attorney, I had a plan and a strategy…a winning one. Armed with truth instead of worry, she left my office determined to take better care of herself. She joined the gym. She started eating better. She followed her doctor’s instructions. In essence, she let me worry about the case. Three months later we were in front of the judge, who gave her temporary custody of the children and ordered Salena’s ex-husband to pay huge child support. I am so glad that Salena got a grip on herself, as the judge also ordered psychological evaluations for both parties. Because Salena was doing great, she passed the evaluations with flying colors. Now Salena has permanent custody of the children…and the ex is paying a boatload of child support.

One of the worst things that you can do in a divorce or other family law case is to let yourself go. This is the time to buckle down and excel mentally, physically and emotionally. If you need to talk to someone, don’t hesitate to get into counseling. If you need some encouragement, surround yourself with positive people who encourage you (get rid of the negative, toxic relationships). If you need to lose some weight, see your doctor, get on a diet and join the gym. The better looking “you” will drive your ex crazy…and it will help your case too.

So, before we get into the nuts and bolts of a family law case, have a piece of chocolate and let the flavor remind you to take care of yourself…keep calm and chocolate on.

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