Divorce can be a tough and lonely road when you go it alone.
Trying to manage the financial, emotional, and legal aspects can overwhelm even the strongest people. Couple that with children who may be impacted and the normal day-to-day stuff you’re already dealing with, and it’s easy to see why you could sink into a cesspool of depression and despair.
Many people lean on attorneys, divorce financial planners or other professionals to help them get through the complicated rough spots of divorce.
But there’s also another resource you can tap into for help.
A divorce coach can provide a wide range of emotional, organizational, motivational and companionship assistance that you desperately need as you work through your divorce.
Here’s what you should know if you’re looking for this kind of support.
- What is a Divorce Coach?
- Do You Need a Divorce Coach?
- Benefits of Working With a Divorce Coach From the Experts
- Ask for Help
- What Does That Help Look Like?
- Hire a Divorce Coach First
What is a Divorce Coach?
A divorce coach is a supportive resource that will help guide people to better decisions by providing motivational and emotional support. They do not provide specific legal, settlement, or financial advice.
Instead, they create a safe and peaceful framework to help people clarify their goals, interests and outcomes pertaining to their divorce. A divorce coach will also work on communication and negotiations skills on how to best interact with a spouse. The goal is to increase collaboration and decrease conflict to reach a mutually agreeable outcome.
Divorce coaches also add great value in areas that are normally highly contentious. For example, a divorce coach can help parents resolve visitation and custody issues when children are a part of the divorce.
Many divorce coaches focus on current issues, while others are more specifically geared and trained toward helping a spouse move on after a marriage has ended.
Often, a divorce coach will make referrals to other trained professionals who specialize in certain areas where a person needs more help.
Some divorce coaches are certified while others are holistic, taking an emotional and practical approach to helping a spouse deal with the significant shifts of a divorce. Either way, a divorce coach is an effective resource to help with the transition and healing process.
Do You Need a Divorce Coach?
Some people are well equipped to handle the rigors of divorce. Others think they can handle the emotional roller coaster, only to decide later that they cannot.
The right divorce coach can not only save you time and anxiety, but often they can save you money as well. By bringing down the level of conflict, you’re able to think more logically and collaboratively. When you don’t need an attorney for every little thing, you will bring your costs down.
There are several indicators to help you decide if you need a divorce coach.
- Are you in a state of fear more often than not?
- Do you have trouble making decisions?
- Are you depressed about your future after your divorce is final?
- Are you angry and looking for revenge against your spouse?
- Does the legal system intimidate you?
- Do you need someone to bounce ideas off of when it comes to children or assets?
- Are you overwhelmed by potential parenting logistics and co-parenting responsibilities?
Read More: A Beginner’s Guide to Divorce Mediation
Benefits of Working With a Divorce Coach
Here are several benefits you’ll when you work with a divorce coach:
- Your coach will create a safe space. You’ll be able to have an open and honest discussion about specific issues that are bothering you. You will also get relief by sharing your concerns and dealing with facts instead of imagined problems.
- The focus is on you. You’ll get support to deal with your issues, problems, challenges and desired outcomes. Aligning your goals and values will be a big part of what a therapist can do for you.
- You will have a shoulder to lean on which can be a huge benefit if your divorce came as a shock to you.
- A divorce coach is somebody you can trust to give you feedback, good and bad, for your specific issues. They will help you ramp down your emotional responses so that you can start to think logically in ways that best benefit you.
- You will save time by not wallowing in guilt or sadness. Coaches are compassionate but also action oriented. They will keep you moving forward with smart and understandable steps until you can stand on your own.
- Divorce coaches are often certified after they have gone through required training. They are professionals on a par with attorneys, CPAs, or mediators.
- They will stress the need for self-care by setting up checks and balances to insulate you from being obsessed about your divorce which could lead to making choices that aren’t in your best interests.
- Divorce coaches’ work does not end when final papers are signed. Often, they will stay with a spouse for a long period after divorce to ensure that a smooth transition takes place.
- Using a divorce coach may mean you won’t need to use an attorney. Attorneys can be adversarial while divorce coaches are more collaborative. Avoiding litigation is a kinder and less expensive outcome that minimizes conflicts. In some cases, divorce coaches also have a background in family law, allowing you to take a more holistic approach using a single resource.
- Divorce breaks children, and a coach can help parents rebuild their children so they can function better. Coaches may work with both parents to create a more healing and nurturing environment when children are involved.
- Divorce coaches will help spouses preserve their dignity and give them much needed confidence that they are making the right decisions about their divorce and their futures.
- In collaborative divorces, a coach could be present for either or both sides of a divorce to facilitate a smooth process, ask the right questions, and offer good answers to ensure cooperation takes place.
- Similarly, although divorce coaches are not generally present during attorney meetings or formal mediation sessions, they can play a valuable role in helping someone beforehand or in debriefing after the fact.
Some coaches do offer services that include contact during these types of sessions but that is generally done through email or texting and involves bringing down the emotional component a person might be experiencing in the heat of the moment.
Ask for Help
Don’t worry about the perception that you can’t go it alone in a divorce.
If you need help, ask for help.
Just like you didn’t study law or accounting in college (or even if you did), you need an outside third party to dispassionately work with you during a difficult challenge. Getting feedback from a trained professional sure beats getting bad advice from co-workers during happy hour.
The last thing you want to do is tap into someone who might be bitter from their own recent divorce battles.
You get no additional points for flying solo.
In fact, when you’re smart enough to spread the burden around, you’ll make less mistakes and feel a whole lot better about the process.
What Does That Help Look Like?
You’re probably wondering about the mechanics and specifics of working with a divorce coach.
Fees and frequency will vary based on your needs.
Typically, a divorce coach will charge anywhere from $60 to several hundred dollars per session. Some divorce coaches will offer package deals at a discount.
Package deals may be the way to go because they establish a longer-term working relationship and may offer value-added services like interim communication, texting, and availability by phone between sessions. Some coaches may also offer to attend court dates with you, if it’s feasible.
Most coaches and clients like to meet weekly. However, that may not always be the case depending on where someone is at in their divorce process. Early on, sessions may need to be more frequent, or some work might be done via email or a Zoom call.
Sessions will last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. Interim contact could be responding to single questions in a few minutes or something a little more extended.
The nature of the coaching relationship really depends on the coach and your needs. Developing a mutually agreeable relationship should be flexible and agreeable to both parties.
Hire a Divorce Coach First
People aren’t always clear at what point they should bring a coach in on their divorce.
The earlier is better. However, you should retain a divorce coach’s services at the point you feel the most comfortable.
It’s really up to you.
The issues that are causing you stress may also drive your decision. If you’re having financial battles early on, or you’ve run up against child custody and co-parenting issues, you’ll want that support when you hit those walls.
Keep in mind that divorce coaches offer preventative solutions. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.
Also, remember that divorce coaches are less expensive than an attorney. While you still may need an attorney, bringing on a divorce coach early on may lessen the level of involvement for an attorney. That could add up to thousands of dollars in savings for you.
There are times when someone may not need a divorce coach until after their divorce is finalized. They may experience a form of divorce PTSD. Many people underestimate how hard single life will be after divorce, and a coach can be just as valuable later on.
Every divorce is unique.
There is no absolute right or wrong when it comes to retaining a divorce coach.
The key thing is that if you need help, get help.
Your search can be as easy as doing an online search for “divorce coach” and you’ll likely turn up a lot of options.
You can also ask for referrals from your attorney, a therapist, your doctor, or someone else who in your circle of friends or family who has had a good experience.
There are also certification institutions out there, so if you don’t have a solid recommendation, you can go somewhere such as Certified Divorce Coach. They’re a program and they have a listing of coaches.
When you’re looking for a coach, looking for someone with a lot of experience is just as important as having a certification. Certification gives coaches a strong formal education, but there are also many coaches who are just as effective who don’t have a formal education.
The smart thing to do is find someone you can build a trusting relationship with as well as integrity and good listening skills.
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