It used to be a coach was just somebody who helped you get better at a sport.  But these days there are all types of coaches – physical fitness coaches, life coaches, marriage coaches, relationship coaches – and even divorce coaches.

You may need an attorney to get divorced, but do you really need a divorce coach?  It turns out that it’s possible you do - but don’t confuse a divorce coach with an attorney. 

“The goal of a divorce coach is to try to make the divorce as smooth and painless as possible,”  says Pegotty Cooper, co-founder of Divorce Coaching Inc., (www.certifieddivorcecoach.com), which both provides divorce coaching and trains divorce coaches.  “Attorneys are the only ones who can provide legal advice or advise a client about their rights.”

Cooper, a co-author of Taking the High Road in Divorce – Simple Strategies for Creating a Healthy Divorce, says divorce coaches and divorce attorneys do work together, however. One of the goals of the divorce coach is to help the client prepare to meet with the divorce attorney, including helping the client get all the paperwork together that will be required.  The divorce coach also works with the client to develop ways to make the divorce as painless as possible.

Divorce coaches can help their clients build self-confidence, and provide them with the tools they need to effectively communicate with everyone involved in the process, Cooper says.

She offers these reasons why a divorce coach is so key to a successful divorce:

• There are many issues to resolve.  The coach can help the client navigate through the details of those decisions.

• The divorce is complicated. Sometimes in complicated divorces, a spouse just doesn’t know where to start.  A divorce coach can help the client go through the issues and organize them.

• Money is limited.  By making sure the client is organized and has all the relevant paperwork, meeting with the attorney is more efficient.

• Emotional support. The divorce coach can offer emotional support to a spouse who may be overwhelmed and not ready to tackle all the painful issues of the divorce.  This is especially true for people trying to tackle their divorce alone.

“Divorces are huge emotional events, and sometimes friends and relatives mean well but they will push people in the wrong direction. A professional and caring divorce coach can reduce the stress and help the person get on with their life.” 

Pegotty Cooper (www.certifieddivorcecoach.com) is co-founder with her husband, Randall R. Cooper, of Divorce Coaching Inc., a firm that trains and certifies individuals to become personal divorce coaches. 

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