To clarify, The American Bar Association includes a definition of "divorce coaching" on its website, and describes divorce coaching or divorce facilitating 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."
The divorce coach or facilitator can assist the client with pre-divorce, divorce and post divorce issues. Pre-Divorce issues include working with the client to decide if divorce is the best choice. Divorce issues include compilation of financial, insurance and real estate information, securing the children and their future, effective communications, and coordinating the “divorce team” which is often comprised of not only the attorney and divorce coach/facilitator, but financial and insurance advisors, real estate and estate planning professionals, therapists and other independent third parties as needed. Post-divorce issues include establishing the client's vision for the future and setting goals to reach them.
An extremely important role of the divorce coach/facilitator is acting as an objective third party who serves as a sounding board for the client. When people are anticipating or going through divorce, they need to talk, express their views and often just vent. The coach/divorce facilitator is there for that purpose and although family and friends do this in part, the coach/facilitator provides a non-emotional perspective when friends and family usually cannot.
Each of my clients is equipped with a “Divorce Planning Notebook” where they work through the process of information gathering. The sections include: personal information (both spouses’ and children’s, marriage, employment and health details); financial, insurance and residential information; a place for placing copies of relevant documents (tax returns [three years], wills, powers of attorney [financial, health, durable, etc]; inheritance, prenuptial and any bankruptcy materials; and safe deposit as well as the value of significant possessions and when they were acquired. (This helps the client make sure they are including all relevant materials to ensure the best possible outcome.)
A very important point I stress with clients is that working through a divorce methodically is the best approach and while emotions are going to come into play, divorce is basically a business deal and that the more emotions are minimized and blame takes a backseat, the greater the chances are that each party has the best way to move forward, get through the divorce and move ahead into the future.
I do work with clients whether they are going through a collaborative divorce, mediation, arbitration or litigation process, but encourage cooperation and open communication between spouses whenever possible.
The Personal Divorce Coach or Facilitator also serves as an objective third party who acts as a sounding board and advisor, helping each client develop the necessary skills, including communication skills, to help them get through the divorce process and move ahead to a successful future.
Tonda R. Bian, BA,MA,EJD