Many people are using “divorce coaches” these days — and the right divorce coach can do wonders in helping you focus, get organized, and manage the flurry of issues you’ll need to efficiently address throughout the course of your case.
A good divorce coach can be a more cost-effective professional for clients who need frequent or extended interactions with a knowledgeable expert to discuss process. A dispassionate coach helps keep an eye on the “big picture” while simultaneously dealing with the many interconnected issues that must be immediately decided when marriages end.
Document gathering and even write-ups can be facilitated through a divorce coach. These are important in preparation for first-draft input to interrogatory answers for your attorney to review, Friend of the Court investigations, and other evaluations. Go over any information you must present to others by using your coach as a sounding board to make sure your side of the story is heard.
A divorce coach can identify and facilitate alternative dispute resolution processes and options for reducing conflict, motivating cooperation. This is also where you can talk through cost-versus-benefit scenarios at your own pace, in a more informal setting. Should you hire a detective? What are the pros and cons of arbitration, litigation, and mediation in your specific case? Might a divorce support group be of benefit?
A divorce coach is not a substitute for competent legal counsel; rather, he/she should be prepared to work well as a partner with you and your attorney. A spouse with business and industry experience will leverage divorce coach contributions much as they would a project manager or account executives. Less confident, assertive spouses may rely upon their divorce coaches to level the playing field.
Ideally, a coach with a background in communication, mental health, and/or strategic planning will provide the best value-added here, without duplicating effort. If a coach becomes an agent of your attorney, you will be entitled to attorney/client privilege in most cases.
While a divorce coach can help you comply with discovery requests, accompany you to court and other court-related proceedings, educate you on the legal process, and review pleadings with you, the most important role of a coach is to relate what is going on “now” with your future. The end of marriage represents the beginning a new life that may include new friends, a new “look,” a new home, a new educational program, and/or a new job. If you decide to keep the former marital home, that may cost you a real estate commission in the near future if you have to move for a job opportunity or want to move because of a romantic relationship. These are issues that can easily be addressed with a coach or a therapist, and a coach or therapist may have more training and more time to help you with these issues.