What's a Divorce Coach and do you need one?

When I was going through my own divorce, everything seemed overwhelming. Honestly, I wouldn't have been able to imagine engaging with more than one professional during that time. I was worried about spending money because I knew the divorce itself would be expensive. Going from a two-income household to one income was even scarier. I never would have considered hiring a divorce coach. I did not know what one was but I was also extremely reluctant to spend money. Since then, I have had the opportunity to interact with some pretty amazing divorce coaches so I wanted to share a little about what they do.

What is a Divorce Coach?

Up until the last few years, I had no idea how expansive the coaching industry was. I knew there were a lot of coaches out there but I didn't really understand how they differed from one and other. I was introduced to the idea of a Divorce Coach when I completed my collaborative divorce training in 2013. It was clear to me what a valuable resource a Divorce Coach could be for a couple who chose to use the collaborative process. However, I had no idea how often coaching is used for those who aren't using the collaborative process.

A Divorce Coach can serve many roles within the divorce. They are most commonly thought of as emotional support but depending on their training, they can do so much more than that. Some Divorce Coaches specialize in the challenges related to co-parenting. They can work with one or both parties to develop plans that resolve parenting issues. Other coaches help more with communication and how to approach divorce negotiations while others coach on healing from the relationship and moving on.

Do you need a Divorce Coach?

When I am working with clients who are facing a divorce, I am always looking for ways to better support them through the process with as minimal a financial impact as possible. In some cases, believe it or not, a Divorce Coach might be the key to saving you money. Just to reiterate, I'm saying in some cases. Most coaches are skilled at helping you separate your emotions from the decisions that need to be made to move forward. Having someone give you that clarity is incredibly valuable. Here are some reasons you might want to consider reaching out to a Divorce Coach:

  • You're so fearful about your future that you can't make decisions
  • You have no idea what you're going to do when the divorce is final
  • You're very angry and are trying to use your divorce to get revenge
  • You're not familiar with the legal process and would like someone to hold your hand through it
  • You're not thinking clearly and it's making it very hard to make any decisions
  • You are struggling to figure out a parenting plan that's going to work
  • You are struggling to figure out how you will co-parent

I reached out to some divorce coaches and asked them what they thought the biggest benefit of working with a coach is. Their answers are below.

Benefits of working with a divorce coach from the experts

"Divorce is a difficult time, there are so many uncertainties. Fear and overwhelm can hijack your brain and emotions. Well-intentioned advice pours in from everywhere. A divorce coach supports you to hear your own voice, to clearly understand and know your individual wants, needs, and goals and to create a plan for moving forward.” Susan Kiernan, Certified Divorce Coach

"The greatest benefit to using a divorce coach is that often people don't have to use attorneys, who often only perpetuate the conflict between the parties.  On the American Bar Association website, divorce coaches are listed as a type of mediation service.  We work to try to reach an agreement between the parties so they don't have to litigate.  It is a kinder, more cost-effective approach, and it leaves the parties able to be friends instead of pitting them against one another." -Dr. Marlene Bizub

 "A divorce coach is invaluable in building resilience and promoting emotional healing throughout the divorce process and beyond.  Need help in communicating calmly and succinctly with the ex?  How about learning how to manage the inevitable stress so that you can sleep through the night?  What about envisioning and creating your brand new life after the dust has settled?  A divorce coach can assist with these issues and more. 

An added bonus is that clients actually end up saving money when working with a divorce coach because they are dealing with the emotional fallout with a coach at a much lower hourly rate than with their lawyer, who really wants to focus on the legal aspect of divorce, and isn't trained to deal with the emotional issues.  A divorce coach can get a client through this difficult time with the least amount of damage possible.  My goal is to take clients from devastation to dancing." -Liesel Darby, M.A., M.Ed, CC

"One of the many benefits to working with a Certified Divorce Coach® is having support and guidance to help manage stress and the overwhelming myriad of emotions that inevitably come with the ending of a marriage, and often linger post-divorce. Additionally, A Certified Divorce Coach®, especially one with a background in family law such as myself, will help you consider the practical, emotional, financial and legal challenges divorce presents and formulate a strategic plan so you can confidently move through the divorce process and successfully manage life after divorce." -Sharri Freedman JD, CDC®

 "As a Collaboratively trained divorce and co-parent coach, my hope is that parents who are contemplating separation/divorce prioritize meeting with a divorce coach as their first step. Divorce is a stressful time. Choosing a divorce team who will assist you through the legal system without unnecessary harm, without stoking adversarial fires, and without putting your children’s childhood in jeopardy makes all the difference in the world. What divorce breaks apart for kids, skillful co-parenting rebuilds. Your divorce/co-parent coach is the person who can assist you both together to keep your children central and to fight together for what’s right for their family now in transition.

In the face of all the change and loss, you may question your ability to work with one another. But from my experience, with a skilled divorce coach at your sides, you have an opportunity to take an extremely difficult circumstance and round the corner into a resilient and constructive future – after all, you’d do just about anything to protect your children from harm. It starts right here. Right now. Your divorce coaches are there to assist with not only getting through the divorce, but also, living into your high-end goals as an eventually thriving two-home family.” -Karen Bonnell

"Having a professional on your team who clears the path of clutter and obstacles makes it easier for you to accomplish what you want to accomplish. When we provide the right environment, your strengths and wisdom to make the right decisions emerge.  In the end, the client feels that they have done their very best to make the best decisions for their future and that of their family. " -Pegotty Cooper, FASAE, IOM, CDC 

“Divorce, especially those involving children or significant assets, is often a much longer process than people anticipate. A coach provides their client with reliable, objective and consistent support when friends and family are too emotionally involved or reluctant to hear the details of the divorce.” -
Jacqueline Sweeney, MA

"By working with me, my clients are empowered to get off the emotional rollercoaster and make clear legal and financial decisions that will fund their future throughout the entire process."  -Laura Miolla, MA, CPCC, PCC

"A divorce coach can help you gain the clarity you need to make smart, healthy, life-long decisions so that you can look yourself in the mirror and KNOW you did the right thing. " -Dr Karen Finn

"I believe, there is a way to navigate divorce with clarity, sanity and sensibility... a way that honors and preserves our sense of dignity... a way that safeguards the welfare of our children…a way that mitigates the unnecessary pain and suffering that is at the heart of most divorce and custody battles.” Kiri Maponya, Battle-Free Divorce Coach

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