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The Accidental Spy

Posted by James P. Ahearn | Dec 01, 2020 | 0 Comments

Divorce can be inherently complicated.

The starting process alone comes with a collection of forms and documents that leave so many people spun around and uncertain as to what step comes next and which step may seem to be our downfall. Divorce can come with a sense of uncertainty and vigilance we as parties begin to undertake and us versus them mentality. The experience of a divorce combines two powerful emotions: rejection and grief. In my years as a divorce attorney, I have yet to have a client tell me that during their nuptials they imagined the marriage ending in decrees and court appearances. When we are faced with daunting challenges such as the end of a marriage, and witnessing “from death do us part” transformed into “'til decree do us part” we reach out to those around us to serve as our confidants and sounding boards, but what happens when the best of intentions leads to the subtlest of betrayals?

Often, I have watched as a client pours their heart and soul out to a perceived ally, only to hear that such confidence was ill-placed.

Family friends, mutual acquaintances, well-meaning in-laws can, at times, become accidental spies. In their desire to foster harmony or promote peace, they may inadvertently disclose details that would best be kept in confidence. Friends may share how you just want to be done with this all. An in-law may disclose how you don't want to hurt the other side. Brunch buddies may blurt out how you never wanted this in the first place. Regardless of the context, we cannot control what others do with the insight and secrets we provide. As a divorce attorney and counselor, I strongly recommend that individuals involved in divorce proceedings begin to receive counseling. Clients often look at me as if I've just told them they ought to fake their death and moonlight as Beyonce when I recommend counseling, yet this strategy is not without forethought.

Counseling provides legal protections unavailable in many other relationships and permits you to have a relationship in which unintended espionage cannot survive.

Counselors are trained to maintain records that protect our clients and offer a space that allows you to process without prosecution. I have also witnessed clients in counseling participate in sounder decision making, a more balanced approach to their divorce, and a greater level of wholeness despite the chaos of family court proceedings. I would be remiss not to provide the counsel of counseling when facing any legal actions, especially when relationships and emotions serve as the core of the conflict.

About the Author

James P. Ahearn

James P. Ahearn earned his law degree from St. Louis University School of Law which is complimented by advanced degrees in Spanish as well as Psychology. James is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is in the home stretch of earning his Ph.D. in psychology.  Much as he does as a counselor, he p...

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