What is a divorce coach?
Have you been faced with witnessing the world as you know it crash around your feet? Have you had to question your understanding of love, morality, and life itself? See your dreams, aspirations, role and purpose in the world catastrophically explode, causing the previously most confident parts of yourself to be obliterated in a way you didn’t know possible? If this is something that resonates with you, you may be facing, or have faced divorce or separation from a long-term partner.
A comparison between January to March 2022 and the same quarter in 2023, showed that the number of couples divorcing has increased by 15%. Statistics for the number of marriages that end in divorce varies, but it is likely to fall between 32%-42%. 79% of people employed while going through a divorce said that the experience impacted their ability to work, with 60% of these individuals stating that it was their mental health that suffered the most. By the age of 16, one-third of children will have divorced parents.
There is no denying that these are stark statistics. If we are not personally affected by divorce, it is likely we will know someone who is.
Mary Hughes and Linda Waite report in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, that divorce has long-term negative impacts on an individual's physical health and mental well-being. The impact on mental health has been reported as an increase in anxiety, depression, stress and sleep disturbances. The physical impacts of divorce have been reported as an increase in the risk of some cancers, as well as an increase in heart attacks and strokes for years post-divorce.
However, some of these impacts respond positively to intervention; specifically areas around mental well-being. Therefore, if support can be offered during the process of divorce, separation, co-parenting and moving forward, then only benefits will occur. With so many couples facing divorce, there is a growing category of coaching with a specialist focus on divorce.
What does a divorce coach do and how can they help me?
A divorce coach is a coach who has had specialist training in and around the experience of divorce; the emotional, the legal and the logistical. Divorce coaches work with individuals, and sometimes couples going through separation and divorce, they are there to guide and support them. Professionally trained divorce coaches, sometimes known as specialist family law coaches, have a unique set of skills to support their clients with the challenges of divorce.
They work with clients throughout the divorce process, from supporting them with the shock of separation (whether you are the one who has initiated the separation or is the partner receiving the news), to those moving through the divorce process itself, to others who are seeking to regain their life again after.
A divorce coach cheerleads and champions their clients on potentially one of the most difficult journeys life will challenge them with.
A divorce coach’s role surpasses information sharing. They empower their clients to find greater emotional stability, to seek clarity, to make decisions that are well informed and to move towards their new future as the best version of themselves.
Separation, divorce and co-parenting can be incredibly overwhelming and the challenges being faced can often seem insurmountable. Clients may come with deep-rooted fears, for example around finances, their home and being a single parent. These fears can lead to self-doubt and paralysation in decision-making. However, with the support of a specially trained divorce coach, clients can regain their sense of empowerment and voice, leading to informed decision-making and a greater sense of resilience.
When in the divorce process can I work with a divorce coach?
I work with clients pre, during and post-divorce. Some clients come to me when they have just started to consider formal separation. Some clients begin working with me as they move through the legalities of divorce. And others seek my support as they emerge from their separation into their new life. There is no wrong or right time to begin working with a divorce coach.
What can a divorce coach offer me?
When working with a new client, a divorce coach will provide the time and space required to understand your unique situation and the person that you are; your values, core beliefs, drivers and challenges. Working together closely, your individualised goals will be established. These can range from developing effective communication strategies with your ex and other professionals, working through possible child-care arrangements and parenting plans, learning to understand and cope better with the many emotional waves you will face, to establishing a support network of other specialist professionals to champion and support you.
The work a specialist family law coach undertakes with each client should be unique and guided by that client's nuanced needs. There is no standard coaching plan that can be employed by a divorce coach; separation and divorce is a highly personal experience, thus no two journeys will ever be the same despite the level of similarities. This is why seeking out a specially trained divorce coach is imperative; they will have been trained to understand the laws governing divorce.
Moreover, to support you through the emotional journey of divorce (which is like no other experience), a specialist divorce coach will have undertaken specific training in the multitude of emotions associated with the divorce experience, and so will be equipped with the skills to support you.
How can I justify the cost of a divorce coach?
Initially, it may seem counterintuitive when spending on average £350 an hour +VAT on a divorce lawyer, to then spend £95 an hour or more on a divorce coach. However, emerging research has illustrated how investing in a specialist divorce coach can actually save you money, as well as reduce conflict, and emotional tension, while supporting effective communication. Specialist divorce coaches are specifically trained to provide their clients with a unique toolbox for moving through the process of divorce.
The emotional impact of divorce is highly significant and has wide-reaching and long-term effects on the logistical and social elements of the process. Lawyers are highly trained to provide expert legal guidance while understanding all the legal implications of your divorce, financial settlement and child arrangements. However, they are not trained to support you through the emotional challenges that are so tightly woven into the entire divorce process, expecting this may leave you frustrated and dissatisfied with your lawyer.
Therefore, it is essential that you have the right support with the processing of your emotions and your understanding of effective communication for your context as this will impact your decision-making. These decisions will directly shape the legalities of your unique divorce, but with a divorce coach, they can be made with increased clarity and a sense of integrity and empowerment.
Divorce coaches will support you to better manage your unique set of circumstances, from dealing with the rollercoaster of emotions, to fully understanding the process and options, to receiving specific resources for your situation. This will all reduce a lawyer's chargeable time and therefore save you money.
Let your lawyer guide you through the legal elements of your divorce and your divorce coach expertly support you with the emotional and communicational aspects while keeping you focused on your goals and outcome.
How do I find a specialist divorce coach?
It is imperative that you seek the support of a specially trained divorce coach. Divorce coaching is very different to business or general life coaching.
The process of divorce and financial separation is closely governed by the law, yet it is one of the most emotionally intense journeys you may ever face. Therefore, a coach who has received specialist and accredited training in and around the process and emotions of divorce will be equipped, and bound by ethical guidelines, to support you in the most informed and effective way possible.
So, when seeking a divorce coach, ensure they are specially trained. The Divorce Coach Academy (DCA) is the only accredited course in the UK. Never be afraid to ask any potential coaches for evidence of their qualifications.
Getting started with a divorce coach
If you are facing, going through or coming out the other side of divorce, a divorce coach will only be a positive addition to your network of professionals championing you.
A divorce coach is your thinking partner to your devil’s advocate. While reducing costs, they support your goal-setting and accountability. A divorce coach will be an invaluable addition to your journey through separation, co-parenting, and the process of rebuilding your life with more strength and resilience than you knew you had.
If you are interested in getting started, visit my profile and send me an email to book your free discovery call. Here, I can hear your unique journey and we can see how working together could support you. It could be the difference between you having a ‘good divorce’ (where you feel validated and have options) and a ‘bad divorce’ (where you feel totally overwhelmed and unable to come to terms with what is happening).