Pamela Ludmer, MD, MMEL, is a physician, Gaia certified women’s leadership coach and a CDC certified divorce coach. View profile
Anyone who has been through divorce will tell you that nothing has rocked her world like divorce. Divorce totally overwhelms and impacts every part of a person’s life – relationships -with children, in-laws and friends, finances, profession, spirituality, health, housing, self-identity, and more.
When most people think of the divorce professionals they think of lawyers, therapists, and financial professionals. But for the past several years, there has been a new professional to enter the divorce landscape – the divorce coach.
What is A Divorce Coach?
The American Bar Association defines divorce coaching as “a flexible, goal-oriented process designed to support, motivate, and guide people going through divorce to help them make the best possible decisions for their future, based on their particular interests, needs, and concerns” (American Bar Association. “Divorce Coaching.” October 11, 2018. Americanbar.org.
Divorce coaches help clients think about what they really need from the divorce, consider what their goals are, both for the divorce and afterwards, and help them to achieve those goals. Pegotty Cooper, MBA and one of the co-founders of the Divorce Coaching, Inc, said it succinctly when she said that divorce coaches help clients move from the story of divorce to the business of divorce.
The reality is that they can support and guide individuals in any stage of the divorce process, from the first thought of whether or not it is the right choice to the rebuilding of their lives after divorce.
The best divorce coaches are able to do this because they have been through a certification program that gives them the tools to handle the myriad complex issues that surround divorce.
Besides learning about some of the options in divorce, divorce coaches are trained to listen with compassion and without judgement, to help move clients from focusing on the past to looking towards their future, to manage all the areas of change that divorce brings, and help support and encourage their clients’ resilience to make it through the process.
Here are just 5 of the many ways divorce coaches can help women:
1. Make the best decisions for you and your children.
Divorce is full of decision making – from what type of divorce to get, which lawyer to hire, what to do with the marital home, how much support to give/receive, and the parenting plan just to name a few.
The decisions made will have life-long consequences to every member of the family. Yet these decisions are often made when in the throes of intense emotions – anger, stress, grief, exhaustion, need for revenge, or even depression. People just don’t make the best decisions when experiencing such strong negative emotions.
A divorce coach will help clients set aside some of the emotions, think logically about all the options available, and about the pros and cons of each decision.
2. Improve communication among all parties involved.
Just like people don’t always make the best decisions when they are racked with intense emotions, they also don’t communicate very well. It is easy to lash out when angry, make sarcastic comments, or to just shut down.
Women already have a reputation for being too emotional, too bitchy, or too angry. A divorce coach can help a woman figure out what might trigger some intense emotions, help plan out difficult conversations, and prepare responses when conversations don’t go the way a woman might have hoped.
This planning can help women remain calm and logical. The more calm a woman is, the easier it is for others to actually hear (and respect) what she says.
The divorce coach can also help prepare women for conversations with other divorce professionals so that they can go in to meetings with a list of questions ready and can easily and succinctly articulate their needs and requests. Guess what – that helps save money by making the best use of expensive lawyers’ time.
3. Get organized for the divorce process.
There is no way around it – divorce is the biggest project anyone will ever manage.
Women need to gather the right team of experts (like lawyers, certified divorce planners, therapists, parenting coordinators and more), mountains of financial information, fill out paperwork, and keep to the deadlines imposed by the legal system. That is on top of the all the other responsibilities and mental load that women carry!
By helping women organize for the process, divorce coaches help women be more efficient in the process. Efficiency can result in a faster process, which, again, can help save money.
4. Continually move forward in the divorce process.
You already know that divorce is overwhelming. This overwhelm makes it easy to get stuck in the drama of the divorce. Some people rehash the story of their divorce over and over and they keep talking about the wrongs that have been done to them.
While venting of emotions is helpful, doing too much venting makes it hard to move forward; it leaves a person trapped in the past and keeps them from looking to the future.
People can also waste valuable lawyer time when they spend time talking about the drama going on and are not focused on moving things forward.
The divorce coach will help women maintain their focus on the next steps until the process in completed. They will continually ask – What is the next step? How will you get that done? What else do you need to help you get it done? When will you get that done?
5. Plan for a new, happier future.
When in the midst of divorce, people often feel lost, afraid, insecure, and powerless. Such negative emotions makes it hard to think of a better future. Yet, as terrible as divorce is, it also opens up new opportunities. By helping women see those opportunities, divorce coaches can help women begin to feel excited about their new futures. And yes, believe it or not, there is joy at the end of divorce and divorce coaches can help women see and realize that joy!
No one goes into marriage expecting to get divorced. If you (or someone you know) find yourself going down this path, consider a divorce coach to help take some of the sting out of the process. You don’t need to go through divorce alone!
(Note – divorce coaches do not provide legal advice.)
1. American Bar Association. “Divorce Coaching.” October 11, 2018. Americanbar.org. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/dispute_resolution/resources/DisputeResolutionProcesses/divorce_coaching/
Short Article Review
Divorce coaches provide additional support and guidance to women going through divorce. They do that by helping women:
- Make the best decisions for themselves and their children
- Improve communication among all parties involved
- Get organized for the divorce process
- Continually move forward in the divorce process
- Plan for a new, happier future
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