Divorce is, in a word, stressful. There are many aspects to consider, decisions to make, and plans to lay. It can feel overwhelming, even for a relatively uncomplicated split where many issues have already been resolved. Add children into the mix, and things get even more complex.

It can be helpful to have someone by your side throughout the process who understands the procedures, can help you advocate for your best interests and will honestly advise you about how to move forward. An increasingly popular way to handle the myriad issues arising during a split is to hire a divorce coach.

What is a divorce coach?

Divorce coaches are mental health professionals, not attorneys. They have special skills relating to the end of a marriage, child custody, co-parenting and more. They don’t offer therapy as such, but instead act as a sounding board and, for lack of a better term, an encyclopedia of information about the implications of different courses of action.

If you find yourself confused about, say, what different child custody options would mean for you and your children, your divorce coach is there to help by providing key knowledge you’ll need to make an informed decision. Divorce coaches work alongside your legal team to keep your – and your children’s – best interests at heart throughout negotiations, mediation or in court.

Why should you have one?

Each person’s divorce is different. Some people can make it through even the most contested dissolution with no need for a coach, while others fare better with someone by their side. Coaches can be particularly beneficial for parents, especially those considering alternative arrangements like nesting (where the children stay in the family home and the parents take turns living there) or split custody (where each parent takes custody of a different child).

Since a divorce coach is a mental health professional, not a legal one, he or she can help you better manage the deep-seated emotions brought up during a divorce and plan for moving forward. This can be a proverbial godsend for those who are reentering the workforce after an extended time away and those who are embracing single parenthood for the first time ever.

Of course, a legal advocate is also a key part of a complete divorce team.