GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV)- A new industry, the Divorce Coach, is popping up in the U.S. Huntington Post has written about it and recently, I met a Divorce Coach.
What is a Divorce Coach? According to the Huffington Post (Three Things a Divorce Coach Can Do For You, Geoff Williams, 9/19/12), it “is a concept that appears to have started with Dr. Kim Lurie, a New York attorney, who began calling herself a Divorce Coach in the 1990’s” Since then, attorneys, financial advisors, psychotherapists and other professionals have jumped on the bandwagon and have reinvented themselves as Divorce Coaches. Their aim is to help guide you through the divorce process by ..”hand holding, pre-legal advice and organizing..”, the Huff Post article explains. It is a totally unregulated industry where, usually professionals, help you navigate through the divorce process. Sometimes, it involves a group of professionals who participate in advising or guiding you through your decisions relating to issues such as keeping or selling your house, investing assets you receive through the divorce, working through emotional issues, etc.
If you do not have a support network and need someone to talk issues through, a Divorce Coach may help, but most attorneys advise their clients to talk to a licensed therapist to do that. The downside is that your attorney is called a ‘counselor’ for a reason. They have the total picture with all the legal ramifications at their disposal and advise their clients what they feel is in their best interest. There is also the issue of confidentiality, something attorneys are vitally aware of with the attorney-client privilege that Divorce Coaches are not held to. The typical Divorce Coach charges between $100 and $150 an hour and advise you to use their services for a minimum of one month.
Whether or not you feel that a Divorce Coach would be helpful in your situation, be sure that you research their credibility and credentials. Because this is a new, unregulated industry, many are being ‘certified’ by online certification courses and the only experience they have is that they themselves have been divorced. This is an area where professionals (read accountants, attorneys, psychologists, financial advisors) may be a legitimate asset to you, but someone with no other training, but an online course, could be questionable and could potentially cross the line into offering legal or therapeutic advice and interfere with your communication and relationship with your attorney. So be smart and carefully check out the background and credentials of anyone who offers their services as a Divorce Coach.
Nothing herein constitutes a legal opinion.