The thought of the legal and mental health professions banning together may seem pretty outrageous given the stereotypes but, it is true, we are joining forces in the professional community to create better outcomes for you, the client.

The lady in the picture you see above standing in the middle of those two dashing fellas is me, Kristen Craren, MEd, LPC. As you are looking at the picture, to the left is James Ahearn, MEd, JD, LPC and to the right is John Kershman, Esq. Yes, James is a therapist AND a lawyer and, yes, he practices in both professions! John Kershman is a well known family law attorney in Saint Louis with a stellar record.

This photo is a product of years of developing relationships in the professional community. I am quite proud to know these men and I absolutely love working with them to help clients going through divorce get through it more smoothly.

There are several ways mental health professionals and lawyers work together with families going through divorce.

  • Referrals– Professionals working together like we do CARE a lot about their clients. Referrals keep our doors open, yes, but the relationships we have with other professionals benefit clients greatly because we know and trust each other; you won’t get the run around. Also, it means the lawyers understand that your mental health is a factor in the legal process. Having a lawyer who understands this is vital to your ultimate outcome. Working with an attorney that does not consider your feelings or doesn’t advise you to get some mental health support could end up costing you thousands of dollars that you wouldn’t even realize you could have gone without spending.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

  • Mediation– There are several ways to get a divorce, mediation being one that is growing in popularity. A lawyer, financial professional or therapist are all professionals you can expect to see in the mediator role. Lawyers and therapists lean on each other for support during mediation, litigation and other processes you can choose from to make sure clients are getting the best guidance they need during divorce. For example, a lawyer may use a mental health professional (trained in mediation) to help co-parents decide on the best parenting plan for their child, or to help process emotions that are stalling the divorce process, keeping everyone from moving on with their new lives.

Moving on with minimal complications is key to staying healthy.

  • Collaborative Divorce- Collaborative divorce is another way lawyers and therapists work together to help you. This is sort of like mediation, except more professionals are involved and sit in the same room while agreements are made. There is a lawyer for each client, a financial neutral and the mental health professional helps guide the conversation, keeping everyone on track and sometimes serves as a parent coach. This and mediation are amazing processes because of how much room there is for emotional processing.

Client outcomes are at the top of our list.

If you have further questions about how to find a therapist or attorney that will meet your needs, any of us are happy to help. You can contact Kristen Craren by filling out a contact form on the website or by dialing 314-817-0699. You can reach James Ahearn and John Kershman at info@ak-stl.com.

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