People hire life coaches to help them navigate through rocky periods in their lives, whether it comes to career, relationships or other personal matters. But a growing trend in the world of matrimonial law over the past decade has been the development of the divorce coach, someone who specializes in how to handle the difficult task of dissolving your marriage.
The idea of a divorce coach could cause skeptics to raise their eyebrows in doubt. If you’re getting a divorce, don’t you just need a lawyer? What does a divorce coach really have to offer that a good attorney, accountant and psychologist can’t provide?
The field is still in its infancy, according to the Huffington Post, so we don’t totally know yet. Some attorneys have actually left the field of family law to become divorce coaches, providing “pre-legal” advice that can limit the amount of time the client spends talking to their actual lawyers and incurring more expensive legal fees.
Other lawyers have incorporated aspects of divorce coaching into their own family law practice.
According to a 2005 article in the American Journal of Family Law, divorce coaching can work well in collaborative divorce circumstances. In collaborative divorce, parties agree to work cooperatively towards amicable solutions to their divorce. Their attorneys also operate with the goal of helping clients avoid conflict. If a case must go to court, collaborative divorce attorneys must disqualify themselves from representing their client in any related litigation.
The article’s author, Sanford N. Portnoy, explains that it is easy for divorce coaches to also be encompassed in the role of psychological therapists, but attorneys won’t ever fit that mold. Instead, attorneys would work with a divorce coach to develop a comprehensive plan that takes the marital history into account as well as the client’s wishes regarding spousal support, asset division, child custody and other matters.
Divorce coaching might also include counseling about the general aspects of divorce and potential impacts and create opportunities for clients to take actions (such as role-playing activities) to understand their behavior during the marriage and consider alternatives for the future.
Should everyone get a divorce coach? It’s up to the individual. Here are some considerations to make if you’re curious about divorce coaching:
- Are you committed to a collaborative divorce?
- Are you able to find a divorce coach who knows that it is illegal to offer legal advice? Only a lawyer can do that.
- Are you prepared to explore how a divorce coach can provide the support you need so that you make informed decisions about your divorce?
- Would it be useful to have a divorce coach available to help you get organized?
If you can answer “yes” to any of those questions, you may see it fit to consider hiring a divorce coach. The North Carolina divorce and separation attorneys of Charles Ullman & Associates cannot recommend a specific coach for you, but we do encourage you to do whatever it takes for you to make your divorce as easy as possible for yourself.