NEW YORK (MainStreet) — No matter how many self-help books you've read, it's hard to fully prepare yourself for the stressful process of divorce. While a good divorce attorney is key to handling the legal aspects of your split, there are other parts of your divorce that you may need some hand-holding with—like dealing with anger and fear, communicating with your soon-to-be ex, creating a parenting schedule and managing your new financial situation. If you're struggling with these types of challenges, professionals known as "divorce coaches" should be on your radar.
Although "life coaches" have made their way into the public's consciousness in recent years, divorce coaches aren't as widely known yet. They may sound a bit bogus to the uninitiated at first glance, but divorce coaches are earning greater recognition for their effectiveness in mentoring clients. In fact, the American Bar Association includes a definition of "divorce coaching" on its website, describing it as "a flexible, goal-oriented process designed to support, motivate and guide people going through divorce to help them make the best possible decisions for their future, based on their particular interests, needs and concerns."
You might be wondering if a divorce coach will only drive up the costs of your already-expensive divorce, but experts say they can actually save you money. The reason: while many people are tempted to rely on their divorce attorney for services the attorney is not trained to handle (such as providing emotional support as you vent about your ex), divorce coaches can offer the non-legal help you need at a significantly lower cost per hour.
Here's what you should know to decide if a divorce coach is right for you.
Who Are Divorce Coaches?
Divorce coaches come from various professional backgrounds, so you can choose a coach based on your specific needs.
"There are people who are divorce financial planners that want to coach you with really an eye to helping you learn financial independence," says Michael Boulette, a divorce attorney for Lindquist & Vennum LLP in Minneapolis and an adjunct professor of family law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. "Others have a mental health background and they're helping you navigate the complex emotional feelings that you're going through without necessarily being in a therapy setting."