As a Rhode Island divorce lawyer and mediator, I was interested in those who hold themselves out as being a "Divorce Coach". Is this another professional position providing a new and helpful service to individuals going through a split-up?
Divorce Coaches offer to manage a wide variety of emotions and issues that arise from the time before any legal action is commenced through the post divorce phase. The coach helps you make informed decisions about parenting, finances, lifestyle choices and family interactions. The coach understands your fears and frustrations and allows you to explore them and work with them. Coaches offer to help you understand your options, and provide guidance to help you find the appropriate resources that you may need (therapists, financial advisors, and appraisers, etc.). With a coach, you still need to use an attorney or mediator to help you through the process.
Having more than 17 years of experience as a highly trained Rhode Island divorce mediator and having been an experienced divorce lawyer since 1978, I have the experience and training to provide all of the aspects that are described as being the role of a Rhode Island "divorce coach". Years of working with people in transition offers more learning and experience than can be obtained in an online course.
As a mediator, I allow parties to explore more than their legal options. During mediation sessions, parties are encouraged to explain their interests and viewpoints for a reasonable settlement proposal; I guide people away from laying down positions seeking to explore the underlying basis for the opinions and interests expressed by each party. Parties express their goals in the outcome and their fears in moving from living as a couple to being alone or a single parent. Unless parties are able to express their emotions such as anger, fear, relief, grief, sadness, and sense of failure, a settlement may be elusive.
I guide the parties and protect their ability to express all ideas and allow brainstorming, without being judgmental or mandating any resolution. I provide a safe environment where we can separate parties if one requests to speak to me alone. We work on options. I encourage parties to visualize how any resolution will work not only today, but in the future.
As a lawyer, I work with each client exploring their interests and goals, recognizing the emotional turmoil and often advising clients when they may need more professional assistance on a short term basis. I help them strategize and go through mediation with another mediator. I also advocate for them in a more traditional role in negotiations, settlement conferences or a Rhode Island contested divorce trial.