Divorce Coach

Given that a separation is one of the most traumatic experiences people can endure, it is natural and advisable that they seek emotional support and advice.  Unfortunately, many people turn to family and friends who mean well, but who may further fuel misunderstandings and conflict in wanting to help.  Some seek the support of a therapist.  I strongly advise that people do, since it is so important to care for oneself and seek perspective as one moves through the process of separating.  However, bear in mind that a therapist’s role is to support their client, and they will only have one side of the story in a separation.  A therapist’s words can also be fuel for conflict if misused or misrepresented.

A divorce coach is role that differs from that of a therapist.  Perhaps the most essential quality of a divorce coach is that he or she maintains a perspective which holds the interests of the family as a whole.  The goal is to obtain a separation agreement that works for both parties, and where there are children, upholds their best interests.

Divorce coaches are essential when you choose the collaborative legal process. They work with you individually and in 4 way meetings with your spouse and their coach, and are present at meetings with your lawyer and other professionals throughout the negotiation process.

A divorce coach assists their clients, as well as other professional team members, by:
  • Identifying feelings, values and needs and clarifying interests during the separation process;
  • Providing support and skills for managing the emotional aspects of separation and divorce;
  • Neutrally defining problems for resolution and teaching negotiation and problem-solving skills;
  • Helping family members improve communication and reduce misunderstandings and blame;
  • Assist parents in developing a parenting plan that upholds the best interests of their children;
  • Helping parents develop effective co-parenting skills and on-going positive family interactions.

Divorce coaches may also be retained to work with you when you are involved in a legal process other than collaborative law.  It is best if both parties agree to have a divorce coach because then everyone can meet together in discussing and resolving the issues.

One final aspect of divorce coaching which I provide is a program called New Ways for Families.  This is a structured program developed by Bill Eddy (see links) which helps parents build skills in three areas:  flexible thinking, managing emotions and moderating behavior.  Both parties agree to voluntarily participate in this program which involves a workbook, homework and meetings with a coach to help participants to apply their learning to their unique issues. The goal is to provide the means for more effective communication and problem-solving skills in future.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.Albert Einstein