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Frequently Asked Questions for Divorce Coaches

February 16, 2012

image Jeroen van Oostrom/

Why do I need a Coach?

You are paying your attorney to guide you through the legal process of divorce, but not do deal with the feelings and grief everyone suffers after a divorce.

Remember that your attorney is your legal expert who guides you through the divorce process helping you to get the fairest settlement you can get.

Your coach is your relationship expert, guiding you through this process emotionally, helping you and your spouse maintain civility and if you have children, pave the way for a future relationship as co-parents.

Who are the coaches?

Coaches and child specialists are licensed mental health professionals and have had special training in the collaborative law process.  All are licensed mental health professionals who use their therapeutic skills to help you through the difficult transition of divorce.  Coaching is not therapy.  Even if you have your own therapist, coaching can ease your transition.

How will having a coach help me through my divorce?

If you are going through a divorce, you are grieving a loss.  Even if you wanted this divorce, you are probably still dealing with the loss of the dreams and expectations you had on the day you married, the loss of financial security, possibly your home, time spent with your children and/or friends.

During the divorce process, people feel wounded and relationships, already damaged, are further and often irreparably impaired.  Feelings are hurt and tempers flare up.    If you use a coach, you will be able to:

  • Better deal with your angry spouse
  • Make settlement meetings more productive
  • Develop better parenting plans
  • Lower your anxiety about the divorce process
  • Reduce conflict.

How would having a coach help my children?

Coaches may also serve as “child specialists.”  If you have children, they are feeling loss — of their family unit, possibly their home, school, friends and how much time and the quality of time they spend with their parents.   They also feel your stress and tension.  Child specialists can help your children deal with their losses while helping you understand your child’s special needs.

Coaches and child specialists are knowledgeable about child development, family dynamics, and the particular stresses of divorce and its effect on a developing child.  They can make recommendations to you and the entire collaborative team and can help you create a parenting plan that addresses the special needs of your family.

I’m already paying an attorney.  I can’t afford to pay for coaching too.

Utilizing coaches as an adjunct to your attorney is a cost effective process that keeps attorney’s costs to a minimum and gives you the best chance of a low conflict, “better” divorce.

By: Paula Van Doren is a collaborative mental health professional, supporting families through the inevitable stress that arises from transitioning from one household to two. She is also an active member of A Better Divorce.

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