I coach both individuals and couples, in Collaborative, Mediated and under special circumstances, litigated divorces.
I provide coaching across a range of initiatives from Pre-Divorce Process Consultation to post-decree problem-solving.
I also provide Coach/Mediator services in select divorce processes. In these I coach both parties and help the attorneys facilitate the forward movement of the case.
What does a Divorce Coach do?
Whether you have decided to divorce through litigation, mediation, or are interested in pursuing a collaborative divorce, the use of a divorce coach is often considered to be an investment in your best decision-making during one of life’s most difficult and emotional processes. It’s important to recognize that divorce coaching is not therapy – we don’t delve into past issues or examine why your feelings exist. The focus is your experience in the divorce process itself and the goal is to help you:
- manage your feelings to help you think clearly and strategically.
- understand your needs, interests, and goals for post-divorce life.
- achieve your best decision-making capability.
- use your most effective communication skills in divorce negotiations.
As a member of your divorce team, I assist the other professionals involved by helping them to understand all of your needs in real time and clarifying legal and financial information to aid in complete understanding. I also participate in the development of the strategy that moves your divorce case from beginning to end.
Individual or Neutral?
This decision is most often based on the needs of the clients. Some individuals feel quite strongly that they need their “own” coach and in that case a two-coach model is deployed for the case. Other couples feel that a one-coach or neutral model is more appropriate for their needs.
While I often work as an individual coach for one party, my specialty is joint or neutral coaching for both parties. In the 150+ divorces I have been involved with, approximately 80% have been the one-coach model. You can think of a neutral coach as being an individual coach for two, both parties have full confidentiality. And my role is to help both clients achieve all of the goals described above.
Neutrality also means that I am bringing my mediation/facilitation skills to the fore and facilitating group meetings as well as working behind the scenes to ensure a professional group that is functioning as a team. As a neutral coach I am often delegated the responsibility of working directly with both parties to address transition issues (for example, how do we tell the children? How do we achieve separation while we work on the divorce? How do we manage our anger?) and develop the parenting plan.
How is coaching different from therapy?
Divorce coaching is a consultative service while therapy is a treatment. Coaching is designed to help an individual, couple, or family deal as effectively as they can with the process of divorce. There is no diagnosis or psychological evaluation as there would be in a psychotherapy. The methods utilized in coaching are here-and-now, pragmatic, and often take the form of an instruction or directive.
Many people already have a therapist they are working with and in fact, that is my #1 recommendation for anyone contemplating a divorce. I can establish communication (with your permission) to educate therapists about the divorce process and goals of coaching. If I assess that you are in need of therapeutic services and you are not currently in psychotherapy, I will make that recommendation and provide referral(s) to you.
Unlike psychotherapy, divorce coaching is not an insurance-reimbursable service.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a specific process where a team of divorce support professionals representing the main components of divorce (legal, financial, and emotional) work with you and your spouse to achieve agreements reflective of everyone’s needs.
While you retain your own attorney during this type of divorce; all the involved professionals function as a team, use processes to promote effective communication between partners, and work to preserve the positive aspects of the relationship so that the odds for long-term cooperation is improved. This approach has been shown to yield long lasting benefits; making agreements that will be kept rather than broken.
Collaborative Divorce professional teams are developed to meet the specific needs of the couple. I function as part of the Collaborative Divorce Team. When you and your spouse meet with all or parts of the team, I work to encourage respectful listening, help each of you gain perspective on other points of view, and assist in formulating goals for your individual futures. If children are involved, I help you both prioritize their needs.
I am a Fellow of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois and adhere to the Principles and Guidelines of Collaborative Family Law.
Are Divorce Coaches used in Mediated Divorces?
More and more often I am asked to participate in Mediated Divorces. This is often a function of the specific Mediator’s process. I have worked as both a neutral coach and an individual coach in Mediated Divorces and provide all of the assistance described above with the exception of facilitating the mediation session.
Can a coach be used before a divorce begins?
Pre-Divorce Process Consultation
This is not the specific, protocol-driven, Discernment Counseling which is used when a couple doesn’t know if they want to divorce or continue to work on the marriage. Instead, I have developed Pre-Divorce Process Consultation to use for the following circumstances:
- When one party wants a divorce and the other doesn’t or isn’t sure yet
- When both parties have decided to divorce but have no idea of how to begin
- When people feel they need some education about the processes available and what each will look/feel like
- When a couple needs some conflict management assistance to endure the divorce process and not wind up in court
- When a couple feels they need problem-solving help to handle immediate issues
What about after we are divorced?
Some issues cannot be anticipated and attended to completely during the divorce process and in those cases the coaching relationship can be extended to address issues such as:
- Grieving and sadness
- Communicating effectively with each other
- Co-Parenting in Reality: Implementing the Joint Parenting Agreement
- Achieving consistency in parenting styles between homes: what’s needed versus what seems like control?
- Moving on: Traversing the distance between “over” and “next”
The first step is to contact me, I prefer email to firstname.lastname@example.org as I can often respond more quickly. I will usually get back to you within a few hours.