Divorce Coaching Can Vastly Improve Communication
Can you imagine walking into court for a final hearing for your divorce case thinking you might be led away in handcuffs if you lose? That has to be a scary thought. And an outrageous one. People are almost never taken away in handcuffs at the end of divorce case.
As a young lawyer, I once had a divorce case client with whom I had difficulty communicating. Because of my lack of experience, I did not recognize the highly emotional nature of divorce at the time. Consequently, what I said was rarely what she heard. When I said we are going to court for a trial, she heard she might go to jail! Why? Because her entire experience of court was the experience of the criminal court: lose your trial, go to jail.
How was I supposed to know that?
I have come to learn a lot about divorce, clients, emotions, and effective communication since then. I realize that law school and legal training prepared me for communicating with lawyers and judges and those experienced with the legal system. That training left me tragically unprepared for communicating with people under the immense stress at the prospect of losing their spouse, their children, their money, and their way of life. That’s a lot at stake in a process they do not understand managed by people they do not know.
In such a stressed state, most people simply cannot process information in a balanced and unfiltered way. Some estimates put the amount of information processed accurately in certain stressful situations as low as 10%. There are the things that are not processed at all, added to the things that are processed inaccurately. This is a recipe for a complete breakdown in the lawyer client relationship. As lawyers, we can get more training on effective communication. That takes us only so far. In many cases, the client also needs to improve their listening, processing, and responsiveness.
It is hard to justify a lawyer working on those issues with a client at $500 per hour.
Where does that leave the client?
Divorce coaching is a proven and effective option for clients seemingly stuck in stress and the compromised communication and process stress brings. Consider these facts about divorce coaching
- Divorce coaching is not therapy. It is a strategic interactive conversation about the ‘here and now” of the client’s current mental and emotional state as it pertains to divorce.
- Divorce coaching is far less expensive than hashing out communication issues with an attorney, and also less costly than the money and time spent on “undoing” the consequences of failed communication between lawyer and client.
- Divorce coaching is laser focused on the communication, thoughts, emotions, and objectives of the client as it pertains to the divorce.
- Divorce coaching has proven to assist clients in moving from the story of divorce to the business of divorce.
- Divorce coaching assists clients in becoming a thinking and collaborative partner with their legal team during the divorce journey.
The reality is, no one is truly ever prepared for divorce (at least not the first one). And, communication between clients and their lawyers will always prove problematic. However, both the lawyer and the client can benefit from a divorce coach supporting the client in bridging the listening, processing, and communication gap between lawyer and client. Moving from the story to the business is a recipe for positive results!
For more information about divorce, relationships and sound decision-making, check out my book Divorce: Taking the High Road here at Amazon.
Kurt Chacon is a lawyer and divorce coach in north Dallas practicing collaborative law. He is a member of the Collaborative Divorce Denton County, Collaborative Divorce Texas, and is a CDC Certified Divorce Coach.