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 your family.
  • Fighting is expensive. When war starts it can expand beyond your expectations and control.
  • Losing can mean negative consequences for you and your children.
  • Even if you “win” the fight, research indicates that legal battles can create physical as well as emotional damage for every member of your family.

How You Can Have a Divorce without Wrecking Your Family and Your Finances

There are other ways to divorce that are focused on helping your family avoid the worst aspects of divorce. In family focused options it does not have to be a battle. If you have children, whether they are minors or adults, their interests and your ongoing relationships with them after the divorce are taken into consideration. Every member of your family benefits when your children are at the center of not in the middle of divorce.

There Are Four Ways to Get Divorced in California

1. Do-it-yourself – described above 

2. The adversarial approach. I call this “Combat Divorce.” Each person hires an attorney who represents him/her as if in a war. The emphasis is on winning which is defined as getting the most you can for yourself, no matter how much damage is done to either spouse or the children. As everyone knows, wars are always expensive and there are always innocent casualties. Another big surprise for people who pursue this approach is that instead of you deciding what happens to your children and whatever is left of your assets, the decisions are made by a Judge, who may never get to know either of you. Many people find this thought disturbing, especially when it comes to your children.

More Peaceful and Respectful Ways to Divorce

3. Mediation. For people who are seeking a more Peaceful Divorce, this is a useful approach. It can work well if you are both getting along well and both are equally comfortable with the decision to divorce. This approach gives you more control over the decisions that affect your family’s lives. There are different ways to do this. One way is a team approach where an attorney who is also a trained mediator represents both people. Sometimes each person will also select their own consulting attorney to review the process. An especially helpful way to use a team mediation process is to include a Divorce Coach/Family Specialist, who as a family Communication Specialist, keeps the inevitable emotional issues from blowing the process apart. A variation of this is that some couples prefer for each spouse/partner to have her/his own Divorce Coach instead of a Family Coach. By staying with the more peaceful approaches, you keep control.

4. Collaborative Divorce. As in mediation this approach gives you more control over the decisions that affect your family’s lives. Attorneys, Mental Health Professionals and Financial Specialists who all are trained in Collaborative Divorce and in Mediation compose the Professional Team. Each person has his/her own Collaborative Attorney. Each has their own Divorce Coach to help dampen down the fight and keep the inevitable emotional issues from blowing the process apart.. There is one Neutral Financial Specialist who makes sure that both people have adequate knowledge of the family’s finances. Both can then make informed consensual decisions. When there are children, the divorcing couple also chooses a Neutral Child Specialist This gives the clearest voice to your children’s needs and concerns. Parents keep the children in focus when making hard decisions during your divorce process. In these more peaceful approaches, you keep control. As with mediation, Collaborative Divorce keeps you and your family out of court and all of your private business stays private. 

How to Choose a Divorce Coach

It is important to consider their qualifications. The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals provides you with specially trained Collaborative lawyers, mental health and financial professionals to educate, support and guide you in reaching balanced, respectful and lasting agreements.

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals requires that a Divorce Coach be a licensed mental health professional who also has specialized training and is experienced in working with families going though divorce.

Without those professional standards, there are no there is way to determine whether a person offering services is qualified because there are no official licensing or other official qualifications to qualify as a Certified Coach,

In California our State Affiliate to find a qualified Divorce Professional is

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