Family law can leave you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, confused, depressed, angry, exhausted...all very normal reactions, but not a fun way to live. These feelings can also make you feel indecisive and paralyzed with doubt during what is a difficult time. Sadly, family law cases are not a short blip in the lives of legal parties; rather, cases drag on for large portions of a year and longer. In fact, some cases just never seem to end, with one post-decree motion filed after another; it can feel like it’s never-ending.
A July 2020 article in Forbes magazine shared how anyone can benefit from using a tried-and-tested Navy S.E.A.L method to take charge of a life ambush. R.E.A.C.T. is a simple acronym for five steps that empower a person to identify their situation and take action. No more feeling stuck. No more being a hostage to anxiety. No more feeling confused and unclear. Check it out:
Recognize Your Reality
It’s important to have an accurate, clear view of your current legal and personal situation. This is not as easy as it sounds...you need to take stock! Without true clarity, your feelings may be driven by falsehoods, and your actions may do more harm than good. Be honest in your assessment.
Evaluate Your Assets & Position
Take stock of your resources, both material and human….and be thankful! Evaluate your liabilities. Take this same inventory for the other parties impacted by your case. This strategic step will probably include asking questions of experts in finance, law enforcement, mental health, and family law. It should include collecting evidence and data to help you clarify your reality and eliminate biases.
Assess Your Options & Outcomes
Once you have a clear picture of your reality and have a strong sense of your assets and weaknesses, along with those of the opposing party, you can begin to assess the short-term and long-term options available to you...along with their outcomes. This will be critical for the next step of R.E.A.C.T.
Choose a Direction...and Communicate It!
Your evaluation of options and outcomes will lead you to a plan of action. Although plans should and will be adjusted as more information comes available over time, creating an initial, informed plan will take back some piece of mind from the torturous unknown. Once you have a plan, communicating it clearly with your attorney and support system(s) will be helpful in moving your case, and your life, forward!
Take Action...Get Off the ‘X’!
There is an undeniable satisfaction in action...taking charge of our lives. Waiting for the ‘perfect moment’ is a mistake. Waiting for ‘things to change’ is unlikely. Taking decisive action to implement your plan, even though doing so may be painful and difficult, is how you will move your life forward to a better reality. NOTHING is worse than where you are now...get off the ‘X’!
I hope you find this protocol as helpful as I did. During the chaos and fear of a family law case, feelings of helplessness and sadness can make things even worse. I hope that you benefit from the wisdom of the Navy S.E.A.L.S, who are experts in engaging effectively in the most dangerous battles.
Jason Castle is a family lawyer who specializes in high-conflict cases. He's also a former prosecutor & social worker. Hear his latest divorce thoughts!