How a Divorce Coach can help you
I’ve been a divorce coach for over five years now, and worked with hundreds of women to help them navigate divorce. Sometimes I forget that not everyone knows everything Divorce Coach does! So in How a Divorce Coach can help you, we go back to basics.
Whether you’re thinking of getting a divorce or you’re a lawyer who works with divorcing couples, this blog is for you. And if you know anyone who is considering divorce, or is a lawyer working with divorcing couples, please share it with them too!
Divorce costs money
Before we get started on the work I do, let’s face facts. There are no two ways about it, divorce will cost you. And it’s money you’d rather not spend. Perhaps you spent a fortune on your wedding? You may have loved saving and planning and hiring experts and professionals to get you the day you dreamed of – and you got your fabulous day.
This doesn’t feel like the same thing at all. Spending money to get out of a marriage isn’t something that anyone ‘likes’ doing. But the sooner you view spending money on your divorce as an investment in your future, the easier it will be to get the support you need.
A Divorce Coach is just one of the many professionals who can support you to make life-changing decisions at a time when you may be feeling lost, overwhelmed, angry, sad or out of control.
Call the divorce coach before the solicitor
For many women considering divorce, their first port of call is the solicitor’s office. Not usually one solicitor’s office but several solicitors’ offices. They hope that getting lots of different legal opinions will help them make decisions. The truth is, this isn’t usually what happens. Instead, confusion and overwhelm sets in and then they stick their head in the sand and do nothing.
I very much support and promote seeing a number of different solicitors to find one who suits you. This isn’t the same as getting several legal opinions. It’s about finding out who you feel can best support you through your divorce. But first, you need to get clear on your own feelings and have a sense of what you want your divorce and life after divorce to look like. That doesn’t mean everything will happen exactly as you envisage, but it does give you a grounded place to stand.
Your lawyer isn’t your therapist
Working with a divorce coach allows you to work through the feelings of overwhelm, upset or sadness first. That way, when you go to seek legal advice, you feel more together and in control of yourself, even if you don’t feel in control of the situation. You are also better able to hear – really hear – what you are being told. And that makes it easier to make smart decisions from a calmer place.
There’s a second reason to it’s wise to work with a divorce coach before a solicitor. This may be a surprise to hear, but not all of the women I work with end up getting divorced. They work with me, work through their emotions, their communication struggles, their vision for the future and they realise their marriage is the way forward. For more on the ways you can work on your relationship and avoid the expense of divorce entirely, take a look at my recent blog, ‘How To Divorce Proof Your Relationship During Lockdown’.
Decide what you really want
In my experience, taking action in your divorce before you are ready is the thing that will cost you the most – both emotionally and financially. And, believe me, knee jerk reactions are very common, and usually very unhelpful.
Some women, need to act quickly. If you are:
(a) physically unsafe
(b) experiencing extreme emotional abuse such that you are concerned for your immediate mental health
(c) concerned about assets that your husband may try to dissipate
then you need to seek legal advice immediately.
If not, take your time. Figure out what it is you really want. This is your opportunity to think about you as a single woman (and parent, if applicable). Where would you like to live? What job would you like to do? Most importantly, how do you want to feel?
Don’t worry about the how at this stage. Get yourself really clear so that your mind begins to have hope – hope for a better, happier and different future. This will become your emotional destination. And, unconsciously, your mind will begin to consider strategies for getting there.
How a divorce coach can help you decide what you really want
If you’re not really sure what you want, a divorce coach can help you by supporting you to look at your values. Your values relate to what’s important to you. The divorce coach helps you focus on you – not your children, not the opinions of your friends and family – just you. It’s actually incredibly hard to do this well on your own.
Using a divorce coach means that you don’t become a divorce bore – it won’t need to dominate all your daily conversations with your friends and family – and trust me, this will make it easier for you. Your divorce coach will explore your desires and encourage you to be bold. They support you to figure out possibilities and options that work for you. And then they can support you as you take the steps to make it happen.
Support when it’s needed
No one wants to hear about your divorce all the time. But you can’t plan when you’ll need support. A good divorce coach will be available for you when you need them. That includes evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.
They will be there to calm you, to reassure you and to support you to regain perspective, particularly if you’ve been triggered by something your ex has done or said.
A good divorce coach will know their way around the legal system. So you’re not just getting the emotional support, you’ve got someone on your side when it comes to working through the legalities too, step by step, in the right order. If you need a rational steer or just a sounding board to let off steam or to test ideas, a divorce coach will be there for you.
Help with navigating co-parenting
Co-parenting doesn’t come easy to many people. It’s often the first time you realise just how different your values and styles of parenting are. It’s often the issue in which both of you think you know ‘best’ and want to be ‘right’, making the other person ‘wrong’. The truth is, unless there is a genuine safeguarding issue when it comes to parenting, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ just different perspectives.
This can be hard to accept if your values clash. It can be the source of untold misery, abuse, and suffering, let alone the confusion and anxiety that your children can feel when they are caught in the crossfire.
A divorce coach can help you look at what’s really important about your parenting and to focus on your relationship with the children and less on what your ex is doing. Your coach will help you focus on the things you can control and influence and let go of the things you can’t. It’s absolutely possible for you to have very different rules and have happy, settled children.
When you do need to communicate with your ex, a divorce coach will help you with your communication technique so that you are able to say what you mean in an appropriate and boundaried way. This will help keep the communication focused on the real issues and not get dragged into petty arguments that keep conflict going. This is vital. Once you’ve decided to divorce, you, your children, and your divorce are the top priority. Not the power games with your ex, however triggering they may be.
Helping you with high conflict situations
A divorce coach is particularly helpful when there is high conflict. Both overt and covert high conflict situations lead to a loss of confidence. This brings fear and anxiety in its wake. These emotional states need to be managed well in order to make smart emotional and financial decisions.
Every woman going through a high conflict divorce needs courage and resilience. A divorce coach will encourage you to build your resilience, to work on your self-esteem and take small but important steps forward so that you learn to stand up for yourself and ask for what you want, need, and deserve. When you feel like shrinking back down, a divorce coach will cheerlead you on to stay strong.
A divorce coach trained in high conflict will help you communicate with your ex to both move the divorce forward and stay safe. This is particularly tough in a high conflict situation – most recommended communication strategies simply do not work and are likely to leave you vulnerable. You can read more on effective communication with a high conflict ex here.
The Divorce Alchemist
As The Divorce Alchemist, I’ve been supporting women through the decision to leave, the divorce process, and out the other side for over 5 years. My experience comes not from my own divorce (I’m not divorced), but from my years as a lawyer, mediator, and coach.
That means I support the whole package: I’m here to support you emotionally and unlike most other divorce coaches, I can guide you through the legal process – supporting you to save money on your solicitor costs if you have one, or to do your divorce yourself if you need to.
I’ve worked online since 2015 doing 1:1 coaching, group coaching and running a successful membership club for women going through divorce. When we are not in lockdown I work in person too!
What clients say
Here’s what some recent clients have said about working with me:
“I was beyond impressed by how helpful you were through my divorce, you were able to view my situation objectively and calmly. You gave me the confidence to do so much myself. You saved me a ton of money, both by helping me to improve my negotiation skills, and by saving me time with my solicitor. Thank you!”
“so glad I decided to ask for your help – I know it’s your job but you have far exceeded that – the mark of an excellent teacher! I have always felt supported not overwhelmed by your vast knowledge as well as your capacity to listen and not make me feel utterly stupid! It means so much, thank you.”
“Soon to be ex and their solicitor antics can feel very personal. Having a third party that can take the sting out of it and doesn’t charge £225 an hour is invaluable.”
“The coaching aspect has also been invaluable for understanding the legal process, all of the jargon and the complexity of getting divorced in a high conflict situation. In short it’s saved my sanity and saved me a lot of money.”
I would love to help you as you navigate the decision to divorce and beyond. If you’d like to chat with me about how I can support you, book a free call.
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com