Making decisions, in general, is difficult during a divorce especially if you are married to a narcissistic, toxic, or abusive person. You’ve depended on someone else to make all your decisions and now you need to take hold of the reins, to make all your own decisions, all while facing his ammunition.
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media from ladies asking about hiring a divorce coach. I’m always appreciative when a local friend tags me asking if I have any suggestions or can help. This led me to think I need to share a list of reasons why women would benefit from hiring a divorce coach… so they (you) can make the best decision for themselves (yourself).
Did I use a Divorce Coach?
I wish I had known there was a person as a Divorce Coach when I was going through my divorce – I’m a huge advocate for coaching and mentoring (I have coaches & mentors too). I felt like neither my therapist, my lawyer, or even friends who had been through a divorce could answer the hundreds of questions that I had or fully support me. I wanted to know if what I was experiencing was normal. And what about when I didn’t want to do what my attorney was telling me to do? Then what? Should I go with my gut or listen to the “experts”?
Divorce is a stressful time. All those decisions. Everyone expects you to have a good head on your shoulders. To know what’s best. Or how things will go. But sometimes you need someone to come alongside you… to help you get through it all. That’s where a Divorce Coach comes in.
What is a Divorce Coach?
Divorce Coaches are professionals educated in empowerment coaching and legal practices. Although, not your lawyer, therapist, or friend, the Divorce Coach can help you to navigate the rough waters of the divorce legal battle or the healing process after. Not only with their expertise, from years of coaching other divorcing women, but their personal experiences facing the very same things you are experiencing!
Your divorce coach doesn’t make any decisions for you and should not tell you what to do because she’s empowering you to make the best decisions for yourself. What are the pros and cons of that decision you need to make? The Divorce Coach encourages you to weigh the costs and figure out which decision will benefit you the most. Then, you make the decision with confidence in yourself to make future decisions as well.
Furthermore, most times the Divorce Coach is less expensive than your attorney or therapist – we don’t want to add any extra financial burden to your already heavy load (in fact we often help you find ways to SAVE money!).
In other countries, like the United Kingdom, having a Divorce Coach in addition to an attorney is common. In the United States, this is a fairly new thing. Now that I’ve been coaching women for the last 5+ years, I realize having a Divorce Coach is like having a Doula in addition to your doctor and/or midwife during childbirth. A Divorce Coach is part of your support team, a servant and divorce companion, whose main focus is serving you and your needs, right where you are.
Reasons You’d Benefit From Hiring a Divorce Coach
1. Sharpened Your Communication Skills
Being able to communicate with your lawyer, the soon-to-be-ex, his lawyer, a mediator, and the judge (if needed) is an important part of the legal divorce process, especially with all the stress, confusion, and overwhelming craziness during this time. Lawyers seem to talk in their own language and then expect you to understand. They know the law and just expect you to trust him/her; a Divorce Coach can help you to read and interpret the law.
You also may want to learn how best to communicate your impending divorce with friends, family, and neighbors. You have to be strong. You have to know what you mean and mean what you say.
Many of my clients have set boundaries with their exes, role-played what they’d say on the stand during their trial, and found the words to explain to their lawyer what they’ll need after the divorce. A Divorce Coach can help you articulate the words as well as set the boundaries for an emotionally healthy and thriving life after divorce. You deserve to be STRONGER... that starts with your communication skills.
2. Improved Your Vision & Clarity
It can become very easy to get overwhelmed with all the things that are going on during the divorce. Feelings can muddy the decision-making waters. You may forget what’s most important to you. Details often get lost in the shuffle. And you start to think, I just want this over with, no matter the outcome.
Don’t live with regret because you gave up the fight before you received what you deserve. Or (if you have any) what your kids deserve! Keep your vision for yourself, your future, and them. A Divorce Coach will help to remind you of those goals, keep you calm, and help you endure during this trial.
3. Preparation & Organization
A Divorce Coach can encourage you to collect all the needed paperwork, organize this paperwork, and analyze what all the legal documents mean. Asking your Divorce Coach to explain how a QDRO (a Qualified Domestic Relations Order) works can save you that hour your lawyer is going to charge you to answer the same question.
When the Divorce Coach doesn’t know the answer to your question, she can point you back to your lawyer for better clarification. But most times someone experienced in the area of legal terminology can explain or assist you in finding the correct answer, without the need for your lawyer.
4. Setting Goals & Having Accountability
Everyone will have advice for you during your divorce. I see all the advice being handed out online and even in divorce groups. Although well-meaning, not all of the advice is actually realistic or beneficial to any divorcing woman. You won’t be able to take him to the cleaners and you shouldn’t always respond to his text messages (or ones from his new girlfriend) with something nasty.
Your Divorce Coach will be giving you the tools you need to respond instead of reacting, set boundaries, and proceed with caution with your next steps. She can also hold you accountable in setting goals for yourself and presenting yourself as a good citizen of the community and the best parent for your child.
5. Analyze Tactics & Stay Emotionally Grounded
Narcissists are really good at their abuse tactics. They can be kind one minute and majorly manipulative the next. They tell you one thing and then do another. They use the court as the board to their chess game. They lie to lawyers, judges, and anyone they think will believe their story (they are pros at this)… while you pick your jaw up off the floor and try to figure out what to do next.
A Divorce Coach that is knowledgable in the tactics of a narcissistic abuser will analyze his tactics when he tries to ruin your character, encourages you to stay emotionally grounded, and focused on defending your case. Narcissists try to scare you with their threats and assertions but that doesn’t mean he’s going to get anything that wants or asks for!
6. Gain Reassurance As You Move Forward
Divorce is a lonely process with so many unknowns and uncertainty. You become worried and worry can lead to panic when you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle, financially, or you could lose your kids. Your Divorce Coach will calm that anxiety sharing all the success stories she’s walked women through. It’s actually super, super rare for a mother to lose their child… so don’t panic! Stay the course… you too will survive this!
As you move past the divorce into the healing phases of divorce a Divorce and Empowerment Coach can share how what you’re experiencing is very normal… as you continue to move on to life after divorce.
7. Define the Details
The details of the divorce petition are often hard to read. Why did that need to be added? Why is he making these accusations? Are they going to let him get away with these lies? You just need an impartial party to hear your frustrations and give you more detail on what the legal papers say, and why they say that.
Then, when that final divorce decree is delivered and all you need to do is sign it, make sure you’re ready and willing to sign everything, by first going through each section, line by line, to make sure everything is there and nothing was added that you don’t agree with… before you sign.
How to Survive & Conquer
You can be prepared and conquer your divorce with your current support team or with a little help from a knowledgable Divorce Coach. The choice is always yours!
If you do hire a coach, make sure you find one that is a good fit for you – we all have our personal preferences and not all personalities work well together. Some coaches offer free consultations while others charge for the first session.
Personally, I’ve found that the clients who invest something financially in the first consult session, are the clients who are just as invested in getting the most out of coaching. Sometimes, women find they get so much out of the consultation that they don’t need any further coaching after. It’s all personalized to your needs.
Did you use a Divorce Coach during your divorce? Are you thinking about using one? Do you have any questions about hiring a Divorce Coach before you make your decision?
May God bless your divorce journey,