What Is A Divorce Coach – and Do I Need One?

A Divorce Coach can help couples maintain caring and respect through the process to help the entire family move forward in a healthy way. Photo: Josh Kenzer, Creative Commons license

A Divorce Coach can help couples maintain caring and respect through the process to help the entire family move forward in a healthy way. Photo: Josh Kenzer, Creative Commons license

by Lynn Waldman, LCSW, and Tina Mears, LMFT

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Lynn Waldman, LCSW

Couples starting the Collaborative Divorce process understand they will be working with family law attorneys to help facilitate the legal requirements. They also recognize the advantages of working with a neutral financial professional such as a Certified Financial Planner or Certified Divorce Analyst, especially when there are important assets or property involved as part of the financial settlement.

But some couples don’t initially think they need a divorce coach. They say, “Well, we get along fine and we don’t need help,” or “I’m coping with everything OK, so why do I need to see a therapist?” Sometimes there are concerns, especially in Collaborative Divorce, about paying for “all these people” when they don’t seem necessary.

After many years of experience as licensed mental health professionals working with divorcing couples through the Collaborative Process, we can tell you that the investment in your emotional well-being throughout your divorce will benefit you not only today, but for many years to come.

What Is A Divorce Coach?

A Divorce Coach is a licensed mental health professional trained to assist clients with the emotional challenges of divorce, communication, parenting plans and preparation for the future. Through Collaborative Divorce, clients work on multidisciplinary teams with attorneys, fina

Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego with divorce solutions. Call 858-472-4022

Tina Mears, LMFT

ncial specialists and other professionals, sharing information through a transparent process with the goal of a family-centered resolution.

How Can A Divorce Coach Help During a Divorce?

A Divorce Coach can play a critically important role in helping couples work through the process by addressing challenges in communication, emotional coping skills, and parenting.

Communication

  • Identify underlying needs and wants and how to express these interests clearly.
  • Teach communication strategies around decision-making and problem-solving.
  • Facilitate the negotiation so that everyone feels heard and solutions are found.
  • Communicate with each other, with attorneys and financial specialists frequently.

Emotional Regulation

  • Offer skill based strategies for managing emotions.
  • Provide structure when facilitating difficult conversations and negotiations.
  • Facilitate client control of the process and maintain the client’s vision for the end result.
  • Help a client’s attorneys understand individual roles, the dynamics of the team and how both affect the Collaborative Process to work more effectively.
  • Help professionals understand how relationship dynamics affect the Collaborative Process and prevent or address stumbling blocks when they occur.

Parenting Plan:

  • Offer parents a safe place to propose and discuss possible parenting plan options.
  • Consider developmental stages of children in parenting plan proposals.
  • Allow difficult emotions to be present in working through child sharing arrangements.
  • Offer insight into developing a roadmap for the new dynamics of the family.

Sometimes by default, couples begin to see their attorneys as surrogate therapists or coaches. This is understandable but not productive. Attorneys are not trained mental health professionals, and their role is to provide their valuable legal expertise. It is not an effective use of time or money to try to work through mental health issues with legal professionals.

In the long run, you will work through your emotional challenges far more easily and effectively with a trained mental health professional who understands the Collaborative Process to work with you as you navigate this critically important chapter in your life, and help prepare you and your family for the chapters ahead.

 

 

 

In Life and Divorce, The Greatest Rewards Come From the Toughest Challenges

Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego with divorce solutions. Call 858-472-4022

by Tina Mears, LMF
Collaborative Divorce Coach

Change can bring many wonderful gifts, but it can also be very intimidating. New ways of tina-mears-photothinking and behaving to achieve a goal can be difficult, mostly because for a lot of us, we want to do what we’ve always done.   We think we’re right or the stress of life persuades us to not put in the effort. It’s natural to say, “I already have too much on my plate and I just want to do what I’ve always done because it’s easier!”

Let me offer two strong benefits to going through any transformative process, such as divorce. First is the outcome.   We reach our goals by identifying the right steps and putting in the work. By taking the route of Collaborative Divorce, you are offered the opportunity to reach an agreement that best meets the needs of everyone. Litigation is not an option and the well-being of the entire family, especially the children, is preserved.

Second and most importantly, is what you learn along the way. When we only focus on the end-goal we miss the many parts of ourselves that develop and strengthen as we go. We can all probably come up with examples of how we’ve gained insight and wisdom because of a difficult situation. The Collaborative Divorce process offers the same benefit because it challenges you to be your best at what might be the most difficult time of your life. It’s when we step up to the challenge and commit to the process do we build on how we cope with life, and as a result, other aspects of our lives become less complicated.

Finally, when we as adults find ways to make life easier, we make our children’s lives easier. When we learn how to be patient and problem solve, we can teach them to do the same. If we aren’t teaching our children how to be flexible, respectful and self-controlled, who will?

To collaborate with someone asks you to first have an open mind and an open heart. Compromise is possible when we practice patience, knowledge and endurance. The Collaborative Divorce process will challenge you to summon your best self. But remember, the most difficult challenges will bring the greatest rewards.