But, it is also the least understood of the professional roles in the Collaborative Divorce process. Clients typically see the value that the financial neutral and child specialist bring to their process. But, folks seem to have a harder time seeing the benefits of a divorce coach before we begin the process.
Divorce coaches are licensed therapists that work with each spouse in a collaborative divorce to help them move through the process as focused, and therefore efficiently, as possible.
There are many significant benefits of having divorce coaches in your case:
1. They save you money. This part is not intuitive. Many clients initially react to the idea of a divorce coach by seeing only an additional expense; one more person they have to pay to be divorced. But, the reality is that divorce coaches save clients money. How? First, many of the hours that clients pay me for are spent discussing non-legal issues that would be more effectively addressed by a divorce coach. And, a divorce coach charges about half of the hourly rate of an experienced collaborative divorce attorney. So, by using the divorce coach as the right tool for the right issues, clients can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars during their process. And, while spending less money, they also get help from human emotion and behavior experts (instead of lawyers) for the non-legal aspects of their divorce.
2. They are the right tool for non-legal and non-financial issues. Every divorce has three components: Legal, financial and emotional. Lawyers are best at handling the legal issues. Financial neutrals are best at handling the financial issues. Divorce coaches are best at helping people shape their emotions, communication and interactions with their spouses and children through the divorce process. You wouldn’t ask a therapist for legal advice; why ask a lawyer for coaching?
3. They know the Collaborative Process. Unlike your therapist, your friends or your family, a collaborative divorce coach is highly trained in the Collaborative Process. They know how it works, what you will experience, and where the tough spots will be. They understand how and why collaborative divorce is different than an adversarial process, and how those differences work for you. Unlike your therapist, they will be privy to information from the other professionals in the process, including your spouse’s coach and your child specialist. Unlike your therapist, they can assimilate information from you, lawyers, financial neutrals, and child specialists to help you through your specific collaborative divorce. Unlike your therapist, they are not there to do therapy! They are there to help you recognize and address roadblocks to expressing yourself effectively and reaching a resolution.
4. They speed things up. In a divorce negotiation, an indelicate word or tense conversation can create emotional distractions that take days or weeks to dissolve. A coach helps you process that anger, frustration, or hurt so you can re-focus and move on with the resolution process. A conversation with a skilled collaborative divorce coach can be worth weeks or months of time; time you could be devoting to building the next stage of your life, attending to your kids’ adjustment or fostering your new relationship.
There are many more benefits to having someone in your corner that is trained to understand the emotional ride of divorce and apply that knowledge to help you through the Collaborative Process.
It is impossible to know exactly how you will benefit from a divorce coach in your specific divorce ahead of time. But, its is a rare case that is not more efficient, effective and focused with divorce coaches.