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What is a Divorce Coach and Why Do I Need One?

Divorce Coach and Spouse Talking About Divorce - Collaborative Divorce of Orange County

The Divorce Coach: A Vital Member of the Professional Collaborative Team

As has been proven, the collaborative model works so well because all of the members of the collaborative team play an equally-critical role in the success of the collaborative process. We know that emotions can run high during a divorce. We also know that emotions can get in the way of rational thinking, and the ability to access the cognitive areas of our brain, which is critical for effective problem-solving. Divorce Coaches are best-suited to help clients move past the emotion of a given impasse, and past the high emotions of the divorce itself, and to help clients focus on realistic options to obtain a more favorable outcome for their families.

What is the Role of a Divorce Coach?

A Divorce Coach is a licensed, mental health professional who has specialized training in Collaborative Divorce and Mediation. The Divorce Coach is a co-equal member of the clients’ Collaborative Divorce Team. In a full Collaborative Team, each spouse has a Divorce Coach. In some cases, clients choose to share one Divorce Coach to assist each of them through the collaborative divorce process or mediation.

The Divorce Coach helps clients translate … Read More “What is a Divorce Coach and Why Do I Need One?”

Thinking about Divorce? This Is What You Need to Know

Perhaps you have already tried counseling. Sadly nothing has worked. One or both of you have decided on divorce.

If you decide to divorce the most important next decision you will make for your family is what process to choose.

Divorce has two tracks and they operate simultaneously. There is the Business Track and the Emotional Track. If the Emotional Track is not handled well it can easily knock the Business Track off course, create enormous damage to your family, including your children, as well as cost you more money and time.

The Business Track generally involves attorneys and financial specialists. The Emotional Track benefits from the expertise of a well trained and experienced Divorce Coach.

In most places, there are four ways to get divorced. Unfortunately, many people only know about two options.

  • Get an aggressive attorney and fight it out
  • Try to do it yourself.

These two choices above carry significant risks.

  • Trying to maneuver your way through a complex legal system without professional guidance can be costly.
  • Family Law can be confusing and it is easy to make mistakes.
  • Hiring lawyers to fight it out can become a war. There will be winners and losers in
Read More “Thinking about Divorce? This Is What You Need to Know”

How Can a Divorce Coach Help You During Your Separation and Divorce?

Person Expressively Speaking to Mental Health Counselor - Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County

The word “coach” has many meanings. Collaborative Divorce Coaches differ significantly from the “certified divorce coaches” who have proliferated in the past ten years. In the collaborative divorce process, the Divorce Coaches must hold a license in a state, province, or country that requires an advanced degree in a recognized clinical mental health field, requires continuing education, and is regulated by a governing body under a code of ethics. Their license must remain in good standing with their licensing boards, and they must comply with the highest standards of their licensing boards. They may be licensed psychologists, marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional clinical counselors, or licensed psychiatrists and must have at least five years’ experience working with couples and families experiencing separation and divorce.

Collaborative Divorce Coaches must have a background, education, and a minimum of five years’ experience post-licensure in:

  • Family systems theory
  • Individual and family life cycle and development.
  • Assessment of individual and family strengths
  • Assessment and challenges of family dynamics in separation and divorce
  • Challenges in restructuring families after separation1

Collaborative Divorce Coaches must have completed the following training requirements:

  • An Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice Training that meets the requirements
Read More “How Can a Divorce Coach Help You During Your Separation and Divorce?”

The Role of Minor’s Counsel in Litigation and in Collaborative Divorce

In high conflict litigated cases, a Judge will often appoint Minor’s Counsel in order to assist them in determining orders that are in the best interests of the child or children of the marriage. Minor’s Counsel is an attorney who represents the children. They are not a therapist or a custody evaluator, however they will gather evidence to present arguments to the Court as to what orders are best for their client or clients [the children]. Minor’s counsel is able to access the confidential records for the child such as medical records, educational records or any records from therapists that have been treating the child.

When I have been in the role of Minor’s Counsel, I try to meet with the child in a neutral setting such as a park or a setting that will be comfortable for them. If I know that they like animals, I may bring one of my dogs with me to the first meeting. My goal in the first meeting is to provide the child with a safe space so that they can talk to me. In most litigated cases, the child has been exposed to the conflict of the parents for a long time. … Read More “The Role of Minor’s Counsel in Litigation and in Collaborative Divorce”

How Does a Legal Separation Differ from a Dissolution of Marriage?

If you are unhappy in your marriage what can you do about it? You could seek a divorce, a legal separation, or a nullity. The process of filing a case with the court is almost identical, but the procedure and the ramifications of filing a legal separation or a nullity instead of a divorce are different.

In California since 1970, we have a “no-fault” system in which there are only two grounds for divorce—“irreconcilable differences” and “incurable insanity.” Irreconcilable differences can encompass a wide variety of reasons, but often means that the spouse applying for the divorce is in a new or better relationship, is being harassed or abused by the other spouse, or wants a different life in another state or country but their spouse does not want to move away. Any of these reasons can create a breakdown of the marital relationship, with required testimony to the court by the petitioning spouse, that the couple can no longer live together.

Why file for a legal separation instead of a divorce? The court forms and the court process of filing for either a divorce or a legal separation are almost identical. In every legal separation or divorce process there … Read More “How Does a Legal Separation Differ from a Dissolution of Marriage?”

What Women Should Know About Divorce

woman digesting lots of information

If asking for spousal or child support, you will always receive more money if you are already employed or have a source of income, your husband is earning more than you, and you can show a need for his financial assistance through a request for child and/or spousal support. Thus, it is detrimental to purposefully limit your stream of income, quit your job if not necessary, or downplay your ability to earn because you think you will receive more from your husband.

If you are in a domestic violence situation, and periodically experiencing threats, intimidation, and even physical assault, you should separate from your husband as soon as you are able to do so. You must educate yourself about the domestic violence cycle and know that each incident could become worse physically and psychologically than the last one you experienced. Without assistance, education, and separation, each incident could become more harmful, not only to you, but also to any children living with you. There are domestic violence assistance centers at courthouses in California where family law cases are processed and heard.

Unless you need the protection of domestic violence restraining orders, try not to speak badly about the children’s father. … Read More “What Women Should Know About Divorce”

13 Tips for Talking with Your Children About Your Separation and Divorce

Mother consoles young daughter

by Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT
www.DivorcePeacemaking.com

The following tips will help you prepare to talk with your children about your separation and divorce. You care about doing the best you can for your children because you are reading this article. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. No one is. This is a stressful time for all of you. Remember to keep taking slow, deep breaths — you and your children will get through this difficult time.

  1. Agree on a time when you both can be present to talk with your children together. Siblings need the support they can provide each other. Divorce is a major life crisis for all family members. Treat it as such. Ideally, it is best to share the news with your children when they have adequate time to absorb what you will be telling them, for example, when they do not have to go back to school in a day or two after hearing the news.
  2. Plan your presentation to your children in advance. Make some notes about what you plan to say and review them to be familiar with what you intend to say. Anticipate what they may say to you. You can
Read More “13 Tips for Talking with Your Children About Your Separation and Divorce”

How to Have a Peaceful and Successful Divorce

Couple smiles at each other in divorce lawyer's office

How do you avoid the trauma of divorce – the battle, the fighting which can endure for many months or years, and the constant argument and opposition to a partner whom you once loved or even still care about?

What does it mean to have a peaceful and successful divorce? How do you discuss and create solutions to divide your assets and debts; share the parenting of your children who are not yet adults or still in school; and calculate a fair distribution of earnings to support two households?

Mental health professionals tell us that when we are angry, in trauma, and emotional, that we are not thinking with the best, problem-solving parts of our brains. How are we able to master our emotions to think rationally and to creatively develop solutions and a new sense of purpose? How can we recreate some of the empathy that we formerly had for our spouse to create a base for teamwork, connection, and solution?

Through an out-of-court process of collaborative divorce, working with a collaborative team of professionals, it is possible to transition from battle to cooperative settlement. It is also possible to save months of court litigation by selecting a collaborative … Read More “How to Have a Peaceful and Successful Divorce”

Our Collaborative Process… A More Peaceful Way to Divorce

Divorce lawyer smiles at a couple from across his desk

The Collaborative Divorce Process is a respectful, peaceful and dignified process that is designed to ensure that the participants and their children successfully transition to the next chapter of their lives.  In the Collaborative Process, the clients retain maximum control over the outcome of their case, as opposed to turning over the decision-making to a judge who does not have intimate knowledge of their particular family.

All of our members are committed to the Collaborative Process, a non-adversarial approach designed to resolve family law conflicts in a mutually-beneficial manner.  Collaborative attorneys are specialists in settling disputes.  Clients and professionals work together respectfully, and in good faith, to gather the information needed to reach an agreement.  The goal is to achieve a “win/win” outcome for all participants.

Typically, clients and professionals meet together to discuss all issues, plan for information gathering and make interim arrangements, as necessary.  A team will be assembled based on the individual participants’ needsThe team may consist of two collaborative attorneys and the clients, or can include attorneys, communication coaches, child specialists (both roles are filled by mental health professionals), and a neutral financial specialist.  Information gathered will be shared with the other clients and … Read More “Our Collaborative Process… A More Peaceful Way to Divorce”

The Role of the Financial Professional… After 1995 If You Live in Ireland

Role of Financial Professional

By Amy Clews, CPA, CDFA, CVA, CFE
Addleman & Associates
www.addlemancpas.com

Why do we need a financial neutral in our Divorce?

The month of March is upon us, and many of us are looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day and celebrating all things Irish; however, did you know divorce in Ireland was not even legal until 1995? And if you’re struggling with the six-month waiting period in California, imagine waiting three years in Ireland where divorcing couples must live apart for two of the last three years before they can divorce.

How will a family potentially support two households both temporarily and in the long-term when finances are separate? How will an equitable settlement be achieved so the family can move forward amicably? These are only a few of the financial questions divorcing couples must consider.

In the collaborative process, the financial professional is there to help the couple address financial issues such as: 1) assisting with gathering financial documents, 2) preparing financial analyses, 3) presenting financial analyses to the collaborative team and the couple, and 4) assisting with financial planning for the future. The financial professional will help you plan for the agreements that you decide will work best … Read More “The Role of the Financial Professional… After 1995 If You Live in Ireland”