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Coping With Court: Surviving the Emotional Toll of Divorce

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Imagine a situation in which everything you identify with and understand about your own life changes unexpectedly. Imagine having your family, finances and future irrevocably upended with a single swipe of a pen. Now, imagine having to face these difficult situations, and many more that follow, alone.

That’s the position Worthington resident Christopher Kearney found himself in when his marriage ended in 2017.

“One day I was living in my house with my wife and kids, and the next I was essentially out on my own, scraping together money for a lawyer and making sure I had a place to stay,” said Kearney.

Going through a divorce can be one of the scariest, most stressful times in a person’s life. From the pain and uncertainty of separation, to the frustration of a complicated and frequently lengthy legal process, divorce proceedings can often feel like a never-ending emotional rollercoaster for the spouses, children and families involved.

Speaking with and retaining an attorney is helpful for gaining a grasp of how the court system works, what legal steps should be undertaken, and which procedural requirements are needed, but assistance in the form of personal guidance and emotional support is sometimes harder to come by.

For this reason, the Franklin County Clerk of Courts office now provides a valuable new resource for those struggling with court-related stress. The reading list, Coping with Court: Suggested Reading for Plaintiffs, Defendants and Families, features a collection of locally available book titles offering practical advice for dealing with emotional stress, maintaining amicable relationships with a former spouse, managing personal finances, and ultimately surviving the divorce process.

“It is important to recognize the potential for emotional trauma that court proceedings and divorce cases can inflict on a person’s mental wellbeing,” said Franklin County Clerk of Courts Maryellen O’Shaughnessy. “This reading list will help those struggling with divorce-related stress by providing strategies to reduce anxiety, navigate non-legal situations and move on with the process in a healthy, positive way.”

The list features 13 titles across four legal categories, including comprehensive advice (Nolo’s Essential Guide to Divorce by Emily Doskow), blueprints for effective co-parenting (Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Ever After by Katherine Woodward Thomas), and even illustrated children’s books designed to help parents discuss difficult topics with their kids (When My Parents Forgot to Be Friends by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos). The list also offers several resources for those in need of general advice on financial planning and mental health.

“The Coping with Court reading list was extremely useful to me at a time in my life when I really needed some support,” Kearney said. “The information I found helped alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress that came along with my divorce, and it was reassuring to know that others had lived through similar situations and eventually found peace after the court proceedings were over.”

Coping with Court is available at the Franklin County Common Pleas Court and can be accessed online at clerk.franklincountyohio.gov.

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