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You don’t go to a surgeon for a headache so why do you go to a lawyer at the onset of separation?

At the onset of separation most people rush off to engage a lawyer!


Because that has become the norm for many years to seek justice for being wronged, to ensure they get what they are entitled to or go to court for a judge to validate they are right.

This may have become the norm, but there are many people who are disgruntled about how much they have spent on lawyers before they reach any financial or parenting agreements.

So why are they paying so much?

Firstly, they have gone to the most expensive divorce resource when they are not ready.

So, what do I mean by not being ready?  

Separation is highly emotional and therefore they may spend a lot of the time venting, crying, reciting their story of years of sacrifice they have made to end up having their world come crashing down around them.

They are an emotional mess!

They can make rash demands when instructing their lawyer about their case. Even if the lawyer provides legal advice at this point that what they are hoping to achieve may not eventuate in court, but they are determined to get justice.

I liken this to me turning up to my mechanic and saying I want a Ferrari engine put into my BMW. The mechanic says that won’t work, but I advise them I am the customer and that is what I want! The mechanic goes ahead with an outcome that fails to deliver what I want and has cost me thousands of dollars……I am then distraught that I have spent thousands and not got what I wanted!

So why does this happen?

When people are emotionally upset at the onset of separation they don’t think rationally, they panic, they want to gain some control back amidst the chaos, without thinking things through with the emotional support and empowerment to plan, prepare and reality test options.

They are NOT ready for legal services!

Engaging with a Divorce coach to provide emotional support, enables clients to have their voice heard, de-escalate conflict, determine what their current situation is for parenting and property so that they can prepare and plan to achieve their goal. The Divorce Coach can then refer clients to the right professional at the right time such as a divorce lawyer who can provide legal advice based on the information collated about their family situation. They can be referred to a family dispute resolution practitioner to mediate with their ex, exploring issues, identifying options, and creating solutions to reach agreement. Some clients struggle through the challenges resisting change so can be referred to a counsellor, psychotherapist, or psychologist for therapy to help them leverage strategies and techniques to manage the challenges ahead.

A Divorce Coach is like a general practitioner (GP) doctor that you go to for a headache whereby the GP will attempt to help you resolve your headache with various means. They may determine that you need to be referred to a specialist such as a radiologist to perform a scan and then maybe a neurologist to uncover any issues with your brain. A neurologist may refer you to a surgeon for an operation etc. You wouldn’t go directly to a surgeon as your first point of call who is one of the most expensive medical resources would you?

So why go to a lawyer when you haven’t had emotional support yet, when you haven’t collated your information about your family parenting and property information or explored options that you could then take to a lawyer to provide advice.

Think of a Divorce Coach like triage at the emergency department at the hospital. You don’t see a surgeon first for a suspected broken leg. You see a nurse to take your blood pressure, temperature, obtain your health history and contact details. Next you might see a locum doctor that is a generalist who will look at your leg and send you off to a radiologist to perform an x-ray. You may then see another doctor who can advise on the next course of treatment if it is determined you have a torn ligament, fracture, or broken leg.  

For too long the society norm is for separating couples to rush out to engage a lawyer each to determine a winner and a loser. At this point…. you are both in a losing position, spending thousands of dollars for two lawyers to negotiate between two clients who are emotionally hurting and feel overwhelmed, loss of control and powerless.

Engage a Divorce Coach to help you prioritise your challenges, plan and prepare whilst helping

you be child and future focused. Separating how you feel about the breakup and being empowered to help your family through this traumatic event calmly to minimise the impact on your children.

Author – Cheryl Duffy, Divorce & Conflict Coach, Family Dispute Resolution Practitoner and Parenting Coordinator

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