I threw in the towel. I did. I gave up on my divorce negotiations because the desire to be free and away from the stress and drama in the moment felt too compelling. I had lost 40 pounds, felt exhausted, defeated, and stressed out. I was sick of the threats.
During a post-divorce agreement mediation session to decrease spousal support, my attorney showed me the local news paper stating that permanent spousal support could go away in my state. My ex spouse was threatening that he couldn’t afford my support and college for the kids. I couldn’t take it anymore. Bam-I did it. I said, “no more, I quit”. I took a deal, a buyout. Apparently, my ex-husband and his girlfriend celebrated with champagne as I cried the whole way home.
If only I had been offered a crystal ball to see the consequences short-term emotional decision making would create later in my life…
While not a fortune teller, a divorce coach would have supported me throughout the process to manage my emotions, given me strategies to enable clear thinking under stress, and had me set goals so that when I was under pressure I could default to calm, clear, concise decision making and not throw in the towel.
The Experience of Divorce
We all know someone who has gone through a divorce. And likely we have heard stories, maybe even offered some support or advice.
When divorce becomes your reality, no matter what causes it, it is much different than being on the sidelines. When it’s over, really over, and time for divorce, the anger, anxiety, emotions, fear, and uncertainty can escalate.
And then, advice comes in from everywhere. Well-meaning family and friends might say: “take all of the money”, “burn his clothes”, “go get a girlfriend and show her!” How do you know what to listen to? These overwhelming feelings can get to the point where you no longer can think clearly or function well. It’s how the brain works to keep us surviving by shutting down critical thinking in the midst of a threatening situation so that you can react. In a divorce the responding to the situation rather than reacting is where you will feel more in control.
Also, all of the advice and stories that you have heard may not ring true with your specific situation. There are many things to consider such as: How do you know if you should get an attorney? Further, could you and your spouse mediate successfully and how do you determine that? How do you find divorce professionals and how do you know if you have a good one?
How will you handle separation and divorce conversations with your kids?
And what about the money? And then, will you ever feel okay again? Will life go back to some kind of new normal?
People think they should just know how to “do” divorce. Many of my clients become frustrated that they don’t know how to navigate forward by believing that because they know people who have divorced they should easily be able to figure this out and handle it well. Nope- typically not the case.
Divorce is one of the most stressful life-changing events. Divorce is ranked #2 after the death of a spouse on the life change index scale.
Divorce not only impacts you but also your kids, your extended family, friends, and your day to day homeostasis. This is a major life transition.
What do you need to get through this safely, sanely, and securely?
This is where a Certified Divorce Coach becomes a valuable partner in your divorce process.
Let me start by saying what we are not… we are not therapists and cannot provide legal information. States have varying laws regarding Family Law and the divorce process. The best advisor for legal advice is a Family Law Attorney right in your area. Therapists take a look backwards in your life. A divorce coach pivots you forward.
Divorce Coaching is recognized by the American Bar Association as a form of dispute resolution process. The ABA 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”.
The benefits of Divorce Coaching are:
- If you are in the “thinking about divorce” stage, we will get you to where you are clear about your decision. You will be supported to create goals and a plan to stay and work it out, or get prepared to go with a detailed plan for how to do that securely and effectively.
- Once you’ve decided to divorce- you will understand the anatomy of the divorce process and be objectively supported in your decision making to choose the way forward that is best for you: pro-se (doing it yourself), hiring an attorney, mediator and given referrals to trusted divorce professionals.
- You will be organized. There is a lot of confusing and dreadable paperwork.
- You will actively keep sorting out the emotions, fears and uncertainty and work to feel them and move past them.
- You will feel supported in your new role as a co-parent and single parent, with information about communicating effectively with your spouse, attorney and kids and reminded to take care of yourself.
- You will feel in control.
- You will have clear decision making, and goal setting all while you are managing your busy life.
- You will have a trusted confidant and mentor with your best interests at the forefront of our discussions.
- You will save money. Divorce Coaches are a fraction of the cost of your attorney when it comes to non-legal advice.
- You will be mentored and guided to avoid the most common mistakes in divorce.
The most commonly made mistakes in divorce:
The most commonly made mistakes lead to regret, despair, financial ruin, issues with co-parenting, and not getting to the outcome you could have.
- Making decisions based on short-term emotional gain.
- Letting others make the decisions for you. It can get overwhelming and tempting to just say to your attorney, “tell me what to do” or just let the judge decide your case. But you have to live with the outcome.
- Wanting certainty and a guarantee on everything.
- Taking the “my way or the highway” approach.
- Quickly moving on to another relationship and losing site of negotiating for what is rightly due to you.
- Disparaging the other parent and negatively affecting your children’s wellbeing.
- Not getting the right professional help.
Thoughts from a Family Law Attorney about their clients using a divorce coach:
“When utilized strategically and in tandem [with an attorney], a divorce coach can supplement the divorce process to save you time, money, emotional stress, and ultimately help preserve relationships as your family is restructured. While divorce may leave some with regrets, I have yet to have a client avail themselves of a divorce coach and regret the decision.”Aubrey J. Parker, Partner, Beermann, LLP
How to get started with a Divorce Coach
Divorce coaches work with clients from all over the world. Sessions can take place in person, over the phone, or on a video chat platform. Brief support can even occur over a text. Most coaches offer a complimentary discovery session.
Having a Certified Divorce Coach as a part of your professional divorce support team will greatly increase the possibility to have a divorce that you feel in control of with less expense and more of the outcome you design. A coach can help you to avoid the most common mistakes in divorce.