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What Does A Divorce Coach Do and Why Do I Need One?

Just hearing the word divorce may evoke many thoughts and feelings such as; trouble; fighting; court; economic strain; upheaval and injustice. The list can go on and on. Some divorce cases proceed smoothly without contention and animosity; however, other cases can become very hostile with numerous disputes and discord. In either case, a Divorce Coach can help clients navigate the process, thus reducing stress and anxiety.

The concept / phenomenon of Life or Career Coaching is not new, but in the field of divorce it is relatively novel service being offered. Divorce Coaching is part of the Collaborative Law initiative. Whenever I tell someone I am a Divorce Coach, I receive puzzled looks and the common misconception is that I encourage people to get divorced. This is hardly the case. For those who have never heard of a “Divorce Coach”, allow me to educate you about this valuable professional service.

First of all, I will explain what coaching is not. Coaching is not clinical in nature as therapy or counseling. It is not based 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 problematic issues. A Divorce Coach neither offers legal advice nor serves as a substitute for your attorney.

Attorneys are retained to represent the best interest of their clients and advocate for them in court. Clients depend on their attorneys, as experts, to gather pertinent information and investigate the financial issues in order to settle the business part of the divorce. It can be very difficult for clients to distinguish business matters from the emotional issues of divorce. Emotions are interwoven with all the issues and decisions that divorce presents. A Divorce Coach can serve as a personal mentor, throughout the process, and assist clients in separating the emotional from the business. There are numerous other benefits for clients who work with a Divorce Coach.

My coaching practice is designed to assist clients with goal achievement, decision making and life transitions. It is based on an educational model that provides an opportunity for clients to learn. The focus is on the present situation (the divorce) and learning how to approach and manage the challenges and decisions during the divorce process. Divorce is a life altering change. Having an awareness of the factors necessary for change and the various stages of change, makes it easier for clients to remain calm and patient.

Coaching offers structure and holds clients responsible for assuming a pro-active role. A Coach may recommend material for clients to read, work on or refer to for future use. Clients can benefit by working with a coach in setting realistic expectations for the process and receiving education about the options available for divorce. Being informed and prepared helps clients to make important decisions with confidence. Guiding clients in clarifying their thoughts, needs and concerns, in order to communicate more effectively, is another important function of the Coach. Clear, purposeful and rational communication helps to ease tension and foster understanding between spouses, as well as parents and children. Additionally, clearly and precisely conveying key facts and asking pertinent questions aids a client in choosing and communicating effectively with their attorney. It is important to proceed through the divorce process in manageable steps, thus, the Divorce Coach will helps clients to prioritize the tasks that need to be completed during the divorce.

In order to achieve the goal of transitioning through divorce with peace, confidence and direction, the Divorce Coach will encourage clients to identify a support system that will help see them through the difficult times. All too often individuals are bombarded with “advice” from friends, family and neighbors, which can be overwhelming, confusing and dangerous!

Clients need to be motivated and realize their personal strengths in order to overcome obstacles that might be encountered during the process. A Divorce Coach can provide the necessary support, motivation and encouragement for clients to go through the process, GROW through the process, maintain their personal integrity and become empowered to plan for a positive future.

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In dividing property, the Illinois court considers all relevant factors including the contribution of each party to the value of the property, particularly the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker, the value of the property distributed to each spouse, the length of the marriage, the financial situation of each spouse when the property is divided, (such as the need to give the family home to the spouse who has custody of the children), any obligations and rights arising from a prior marriage of either party, the age, health, station, occupation, income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties, the custody of any children, and the reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income.
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