We have all experienced clients who are consumed with the emotions – upset, anger, despair – caused by the breakup of their marriage. It might be they were blindsided by the divorce, or perhaps their spouse was unfaithful. Regardless of the reason, if a client’s emotions are in the driver’s seat when making decisions about their life and their family’s future, it can be problematic. It may look like a client being so distraught that she cannot fully comprehend the divorce process or meaningfully participate in settlement negotiations. Or, your client’s main focus may be on “winning” or proving their spouse wrong in court. Needless to say, emotionally-driven decisions usually are not sound ones. This can make your job as an attorney very difficult, as your clients may be unfocused, unreasonable or simply unable to heed your sound advice. This is where Divorce Coaching can be invaluable, not only to the parties divorcing, but to Family Lawyers alike.
Let me first explain what Divorce Coaching is not. A Divorce Coach neither offers legal advice nor serves as a substitute for an attorney. That role is left exclusively to their legal counsel. Additionally, Coaching is not clinical in nature like therapy or counseling. It is not centered on a medical diagnosis and no diagnosis is made. There is no assumption that a mental health problem exists and a Coach does not delve into the past to look for root causes of difficult issues.
Rather, a Divorce Coach serves as a mentor of sorts and supports a client with decision-making, goal-setting & achieving, and this major life transition. A Divorce Coach helps a client develop goals for redefining their life and create a clear and specific plan to achieve those goals. In that process, there are often emotional barriers in the way. Thus, a Coach also supports and empowers clients to overcome the emotional aspects of their separation and divorce, including the pain, anger and fear that may be buried or not fully acknowledged. When clients are able to release their negative feelings, they begin to heal and move forward with their lives. This enables them to focus their time and energy on making rational decisions, communicating effectively, and dealing with their divorce issues in a calm and clear manner. Clients will be empowered to design their future from a place of confidence, peace and direction.
For a Divorce Attorney, this translates into the following benefits:
- Clients who are solution-focused rather than determined to “win” the divorce.
- Clients who are clear, specific and reasonable about their and their family’s needs and wants.
- Clients who now have access to working cooperatively and communicating civilly and effectively with their spouse and child(ren).
- Clients who can truly concentrate on their child(ren)’s best interest rather than getting back at their spouse.
- Clients who are empowered and willing to move their lives forward.
- Clients who can participate meaningfully in the divorce process.
Divorce coaching is a distinct process that compliments the expertise of and vital services provided by an attorney. When a litigant works with a Divorce Coach, you get a better client. This means that you can focus your time and attention on the legal aspects of your client’s case and make paramount protecting their best interests. You also can be reassured knowing your clients will be able to make better choices, communicate more effectively, and work toward a fair resolution of their matter.
Jamie L. Cicerelle is a Certified Life Coach (CPC) with Blank Canvas Coaching, with 13 years of experience as a divorce lawyer. She specializes in divorce and relationship coaching.