Divorce can be one of the most painful experiences a person will ever go through.
Not only is your heart broken into a million pieces but life as you knew it is over. The devastation of the failed relationship is often made worse by thoughts of your children, and how much they are going to suffer.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the divorce, your kids have just lost the opportunity to see one parent every day.
Then there are the finances, assets, pets, family members, that artwork you both bought in Paris when you were in love.
Divorce has reliably sat at number two on the list of Top Life stressors, beaten only by the death of a loved one.
Most people need help to get through it. But how … who?
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Lawyers are very expensive so it’s probably best not to waste any billable hours crying on their shoulders. Some couples are coached through their divorce by the relationship therapist who tried to help them. Others may try and lean on their court-appointed mediation.
And now there’s another option – a Divorce Coach.
A divorce coach is a life coach or a therapist trained to focus on helping individuals and couples through their divorce. In fact anyone can become a divorce coach by completing an online course, some of whom have been through the pain of a divorce and saw an opportunity to help others.
Divorce Coach Carolyn Madden from Divorce Coaching Australia in Sydney, NSW says her role is to not only help a couple prepare for the extremely complex divorce process but also to get them to think about all the unknowns that may lie ahead.
“People can often be quite unrealistic about what’s involved, thinking they will force it to be over quickly and that they can’t fail to get what they believe they are entitled to,” Madden says.
She describes the divorce process as a potential “minefield”, particularly when the parties involved don’t put enough thought into how their lives are going to change.
Sometimes Madden gets involved quite early on in the process, consulting with a client about how they should go about informing their spouse the marriage is over.
"Where one party has been contemplating separation for some time, they will be in a different place to the other party and how they tell their partner may impact on that person’s approach throughout the proceedings. Being blind-sided can increase anger and resentment and the desire to get back at the other partner."
Carolyn Madden's top divorce tips:
Focus on the future
Set up a realistic plan
Be your "best self" during the process
Prepare for conflict
Prioritise what is best for the children
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Divorce Coach Naomi Douglas from the Gold Coast in Queensland takes a similar approach to Madden and feels her work saves money and reduces conflict. "People who use a divorce coach experience many profound benefits. They save money often by reducing conflict and legal fees."
"They protect themselves and their children from the harm of high conflict."
Douglas says couples going through a divorce need to reflect on this crisis in their life and find "meaning and direction".
"In this way the work becomes transformational."
"Often with divorce coaching, I work with only one party," Naomi said. "My work with both parties is usually either in cases where marriage reconciliation is a possibility or when separated or divorced parent wish to work with me on developing a better co-parenting relationship."
She says it's as much about managing practical matters as well as developing clear strategies. "At the same time I work with them closely in regards to the emotional and personal issues they are struggling with. I also guide them to provide a healthy secure environment for their children."
What did you find most challenging about getting divorced. Comment in the section below.