Over my years working as a Divorce Attorney and now Divorce Mediator, I have seen numerous stories of spouses and other divorce professionals being killed by angry opposing spouses in the midst of their divorces. I have been part of an office that had a client kill their own mother who had sided with the other spouse in their contested divorce. A headline from a Georgia paper this past Sunday read “Georgia man charged with killing ex-wife’s divorce lawyer, then torching office.” While these are extreme cases, divorce professionals are regularly dealing with high levels of emotional turmoil and guiding our clients in a way that helps them deal with these emotions in a healthy way is critical. Most of us attorneys in the field have no formal mental health related training as our backgrounds are in the law. Providing our clients with resources to help them navigate the emotions they are dealing with can be very valuable in resolving the divorce related disputes and helping our clients to move forward with their lives in a healthy way.
The most common resource to address these types of issues is a referral to a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). There is another option for divorcing couples to consider which is a certified Divorce Coach. I recently had the opportunity to connect with India Kern, a certified Divorce Coach as well as a Life Coach. India went through a very challenging divorce herself which led to her passion for helping others that find themselves stuck either in their lengthy divorce or in the emotional fallout as they try to move forward in life after divorce. Her services include providing emotional support, mental preparation so they are in a position to handle the “business” of the divorce, mindset work involving self image and confidence, and helping clients come up with a game plan for getting through their divorce and as they embrace life after divorce.
As a Divorce Mediator my work is not complete until the couple has successfully made the business decisions of their divorce. I often will have one or both spouses who are struggling with coming to terms with the emotional issues of their divorce which impacts their ability to make sound and thoughtful decisions related to the business that needs to be done. Having a trained professional like India involved, providing support so that my clients are in the best space to make good decisions, is invaluable. Where this support lacks, mediators are equipped with various strategies to address high emotion dynamics, but in a perfect world, the support of a divorce coach would be available to all who have the need for such support. Many divorcing couples are not even aware of this resource.
It is imperative that Divorce Professionals do all we can to help deal with the emotions our clients face in as healthy a way as possible. As noted above, it can even be a matter of life or death. There is no justification for such violent behavior and there are many healthy coping mechanisms to be sought out during such intense emotional disputes. We do our clients a great service in focusing on this task and steering our clients in the direction of therapy and coaching as their circumstances warrant. Explore such resources so that you have them in your back pocket when they may benefit your client(s). India Kern can be found at https://www.indiakern.com/. We are best meeting the needs of our clients when we guide them to healthy divorce options like divorce mediation or collaborative divorce, and when we are intentional about the support they may need during the process, their emotions are less likely to stand in the way of moving on. India’s website sums it up well with a quote from CS Lewis: “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” Our important work is to help make it easier for our clients to let go so they can move forward.