There is tremendous scientific knowledge about the brain yet the legal system is slow at integrating it.
We have known for years now that our cognitive abilities diminish when we are experiencing strong emotion. Separating clients are frequently in a state of high emotions stemming from years of unhappiness in their marriage. They are likely to encounter many instances when they will get emotionally triggered during which time their ability to think and reason will be diminished. Yet we demand that separating parents co-parent effectively and work together amicably to resolve complex financial decisions.
Separating families, and especially the children, the innocent victims, suffer tremendously before, during and after the legal separation process.
Despite strong efforts by policy makers and governments to introduce measures to make family law friendlier, our systems are not “brain friendly”. We don’t leave room for the expression of strong emotions and we expect people to perform well under impossible circumstances such as during negotiations, cross-examinations and trials.
It is true that ADR models, such as Mediation and Collaborative Law, do provide a forum for families to separate more respectfully. But our laws constantly pit one spouse against the other which forces spouses to fight against one another, triggering strong emotions in each other. Clients are thus liable to provide instructions to their lawyers from a place of diminished capacity, even in these more advanced systems of negotiation.
I invite you to join our group of dedicated professionals who want to play a role in the evolution of our family law system.