Why You Need to Hire a Divorce Coach
You've probably heard the factoid, "Almost 50 percent of marriages end in divorce." But of all those couples, how many of them actually hire a divorce lawyer?
According to a Lawyers.com survey carried out in 2019, 57 percent of participants hired a lawyer to handle their divorce case from beginning to end. Meanwhile, 10 percent of couples hired a mediator or consulted with an attorney to prepare and/or review documents. Unlike a lawyer, a mediator is a neutral third party who helps couples come to a mutually acceptable agreement in regard to their disputes.
Another option is to hire a divorce coach, a professional who specializes in the mental health and emotional needs of their clients. With this kind of aid, folks may save time, money and heartache.
What makes a divorce coach?
Divorce coaches can either help their clients through a divorce or help them overcome the aftermath of one.
"A divorce coach, unlike therapy or counseling, is strategically focused on both the personal and process of divorce," said Alicia Robertson, a certified life coach who is the founder of Lemonade Life and the creator of Unwife, a flagship program that teaches women how to thrive through a divorce. "I provide my clients with tools to understand the divorce process, financials, family planning and negotiation so they can be an informed decision-maker around the table."
A divorce coach's goal is to ensure you're going to put your needs first during this difficult time.
Yael Abramson Braun, The Divorce Specialist on Instagram, actually sits at the table during discussions. She represents her clients in Jewish court—where litigants aren't allowed to use lawyers—as a "religious female advocate." In addition to providing emotional support in court, Braun helps women look over contracts and agreements. Unlike divorce lawyers, divorce coaches don't need a specific educational background.
"Divorce coaches have different professional backgrounds and are selected based on the specific needs of the clients," said Ashley Wood, a certified divorce coach. "We help clients make their own decisions and act as a thinking partner to ensure those decisions are consistent with who they are when they are at their best, that are connected to their values, and that support a vision for their future."
Navigating the process
Some people might seek a divorce coach to help them make divorce decisions, while others are looking for someone to help them find love after divorce or for a co-parenting consultant. Wood, for example, specifically guides moms with young children through the divorce and co-parenting process because she's been in their shoes.
"I became a certified divorce coach to be able to help others who find themselves where I was," Wood said. "It is my mission to help moms reach the other side of their divorce a stronger, more confident, and authentic version of themselves and [with] the ability to look back on the story of their divorce with a sense of dignity and pride."
In her work, Wood helps parents determine the best ways for them to talk to their children about divorce, organize their co-parenting schedules and navigate the introduction of new partners.
Most clients hire a divorce coach because they're looking to navigate the process and the legal jargon that comes with it. However, many will also gain a community and a new outlook on life as a divorced person.
"My clients' journey to personal success is for life—divorce is temporary," Robertson said. "They'll develop a sacred space for real talk, a boatload of inspiration and coaching that focuses on self-worth, confidence, healthy boundaries and communication skills."
A supplement rather than a replacement
If someone decides to hire a divorce coach (who may also be a certified family law attorney), their role is not to provide legal advice. They should not act as a replacement for a lawyer; rather, they should work hand in hand with them.=
"A divorce coach helps you engage with other divorce professionals more efficiently," Wood said. "An attorney is an important professional to have on your divorce team, but expecting your lawyer to play the role of counselor, therapist and thinking partner for all concerns outside your legal rights and responsibilities is not an expectation all lawyers will want or be willing to fulfill."
Going through a divorce can be financially and emotionally draining. A divorce coach's goal is to ensure you're going to put your needs first during this difficult time, especially knowing that the decisions you make during a divorce can affect the rest of your life.
If you're in need of extra support throughout the legal process, then hiring a divorce coach with expertise and a history of success might be a fruitful investment. If you're without a support system—or even friends and family without a biased opinion you can confide in—it can be beneficial to turn to someone with an outsider's point of view.