What is a Divorce Coach?
In this article, I shall take you through the factors that will help you to determine how much you value your mental well-being.
If a car breaks down, without hesitation, we take it to a reputable garage to be fixed. So why is it that if WE ‘break down’, we’re afraid to ask for help, and we attempt to ‘fix’ ourselves? Putting a plaster over a deep gaping wound only slows up the healing process. Going through a separation and divorce is considered a traumatic, life-changing event. It’s the dissolving of a relationship that we believed would last our whole lives.
We may feel that we should do more to save the marriage, or we may wonder if there is something about ourselves we could fix or change instead of going through this painful separation. On the other hand, we may be seeing in hindsight that our marriage was truly only meant to last for a short time so that we could learn something we needed to know. We enter the process having no idea of what to expect. How long is the divorce going to take? What will the financial implications be? Will it affect the children’s behaviour? What will life look like once out the other side? These are only a few of the questions that will bombard our minds. We are fearful, and fear can be paralysing.
It’s important to understand what is ahead, as the decision to divorce is not one that should be taken lightly. If it is the only way forward, it’s important to be aware that anger and righteousness can also mask grief. After the passing of a loved one there is closure and this provides us with the ability to move on. However, divorce is usually one of the hardest life experiences for both the separating couple and the entire family. More often than not, one partner is more hurt or upset than the other, leading to a breakup that is anything but mutual and amicable. Finding closure is the only way to truly move forward from an ended relationship, even if closure comes from within. Holding out for an apology or an epiphany from the other person will prolong grief. Part of letting go is understanding that you may not get the answers to many of your questions. For the first few weeks, people who experience loss are often surrounded by friends and family. It is important to ask people for longer-term help. A divorce coach provides the ongoing support that is needed.
I’d like to give you a brief outline of what led me to become a Divorce Coach. In 2014, I started on my own rocky road to divorce. I was afraid, confused, shocked, and bereft. I didn’t recognise the person my ex had metamorphosed into. The cheating, lies, betrayal and humiliation were hard to stomach. I couldn’t put one step in front of the other. Every day was a struggle. I felt as though I was wading through treacle. I knew that in my heart, I deserved better. I trusted my inner guide to help me choose to walk away and navigate the rough terrain of confusion and loss. I made a promise to myself that I would not allow the man I had been married to for 28 years to destroy all that I believed in; my core values and moral principles. My very own sanity!
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”– Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was advised to instruct a family law solicitor. I knew of a few reputable firms in my local area. I chose one and made an appointment. The meeting went well. She reassured me and said she’d get the ball rolling. I remember feeling relieved as I left her office. I had taken the first step on what was to be a long journey. Twenty minutes after arriving home, I received a phone call from her apologising profusely because it had become apparent that my ex had already instructed her firm, and because of a conflict of interest, she could not take on my case! I felt like I had had the wind knocked out of my sails. Back to the drawing board. I phoned another firm of solicitors and continued on with my journey.
The solicitor I instructed was a senior partner and known to be an excellent adversary. She had a no-nonsense approach. In the beginning, this approach made me feel frustrated. I was about to lose so much financially and emotionally due to one person’s selfish, greedy and adulterous behaviour. Did she not understand? Where was her compassion? Why was she being so forthright? I was the deeply wounded party in all of this. His behaviour had caused all of this, so surely he deserved to get nothing! As I found out, the system doesn’t work like that… it’s not about morality, fair play or justice.
If only I’d known
As time went on, I began to understand that she wasn’t there to support me as a therapist, counsellor or friend. She was there to sort out the financial split and achieve the best outcome for me. Her role in the divorce is to take details, and gather evidence, including finances. She would prepare the necessary documentation, negotiate settlements, refer to mediation and advocate for me in any hearings that may arise further down the line. I was fortunate enough to have the support of a family member so that she could take notes on my behalf and relay any points I missed back to me after the first couple of meetings with my solicitor. I’d recommend anyone else to do the same because when we’re under a lot of stress and strain, we get lost in our own thoughts.
The intensity of a conversation about a complex matter can cause us to hold onto one sentence or word, and a new train of thought emerges in our minds. Before we know it, our mind is running away on a different dimension. We overthink and lose focus. Feeling overwhelmed can result in not paying attention and forgetting to ask sensible questions. I could have saved a lot of money going through my divorce, if I’d stayed on point, discussed the relevant facts, completed simple tasks myself and limited the documentation I sent to my solicitor. It wasn’t until several months in that I realised I was being charged by the minute for every telephone call, email, letter, handling of documents, etc…. (shocked emoji face springs to mind!). I had been charged for every minute I sat crying at the initial meetings. A very expensive box of tissues!
“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”– Sydney J. Harris
Divorce Coach’s Role
W hether you mutually decided to split up, or it’s because of infidelity, the prospect of moving yourself forward in a managed way may understandably feel overwhelming. At some point, you may need to be challenged to look deeper inside yourself as you make this very important decision. A divorce coach is there to guide you through the pre, processing, planning and post-divorce phase. A coach is impartial and, in most cases, has been through the process themselves. They get it. They are compassionate and have empathy. Helping you navigate the divorce crisis, manage your frustrations and emotions and to be the best version of yourself during such a traumatic time. They are a sounding board, and a thinking partner, and can help you to manage conflict and gain clarity..
In my own coaching practice, you’ll receive full support so you aren’t navigating your separation journey alone. By building your confidence, you are then able to transition into your new life. My coaching space will allow you to carve out some supported, dedicated and purposeful time to reflect on your situation and help to divorce with dignity. You’ll receive the tools to help dial down the emotion, talk through your divorce story and make sensible choices when dealing with the business of divorce. I can help to explain the process, help you to fill out forms, etc…. I can liaise with lawyers and other professionals on your behalf, which will reduce anxiety and stress and keep the cost of your legal bill down.
Why should I use a divorce coach?
I’d wish I’d had a sounding board, and a thinking partner when I went through my breakup and divorce! I struggled to cope mentally for a considerable amount of time. I had high expectations of myself and thought that after a period of mourning, I’d transition from one sad chapter into a happier one; just like that. I’m afraid it’s not that easy. There is no such thing as a magic wand! Grief is a reaction to loss. Going through a separation and divorce feels as though life is in limbo. You can become paralysed and are no help at all to yourself and others. It’s like being a ship without an anchor. Where do you go? Who do you talk to? How do you begin to lighten the heavy load you are carrying? Healing your heart is about ultimately finding acceptance and living in reality.
Communication while mending a broken heart is tough. The person you’ve shared your inner thoughts, dreams and goals with. Dividing up your marital home, the time you spend with your children, your friends, family, bank accounts, assets, etc… is not straightforward or easy to go through. Divorce coaching is a safe environment to talk about one’s fears and concerns. To deal with the story of divorce, understand the business of divorce and steady oneself. It is focused on moving you forward to the next exciting chapter of your life!
Divorce Coach Fees
With divorce coaching, unlike solicitors, you do not get charged for every minute of my time; it’s a set fee. Separation is a process that takes time. There’s a lot to think about and consider. For this reason, I invite clients to book in blocks of 6, 8 or 12 sessions. My fee is £95 per 1-hour session. We’ll meet weekly or once every two weeks. Support is ongoing between sessions. You can contact me whenever the need arises. So what have you got to lose? All it takes is an initial conversation to recognise whether you need the help and support to get you through this huge transition in your life! You can drop me a line today by booking your FREE 30-minute discovery session and explore ways to make the process more bearable. Book a discovery call here.