As time has passed on from the fun care-free days of my undergraduate degree (which somehow always seems to be summer-y and bright, in my memories), into the dark and cold lockdown days of my postgraduate studies, my youthful and wonderful marriage has seemed like less and less of a muse for my creative pursuits, and more like a vampire leeching energy from my life. This is a personal post, but if you need help with your creativity and you’re having relationship problems, this should be the first step you take to solve them.
One night after an argument, I decided it was time to split. I didn’t know whether it was for a divorce, a trial separation, or even enacting one of the wild fantasies of “ghosting” that I’d been having, but something needed to happen. I made up my mind, and asked a friend for advice on what I should do. I needed to get my art flowing again, get my creative juices flowing, and get my happiness back.
But the idea of divorce scared me, so I asked for help before talking to my (then) husband. Needless to say, going through the process of divorce can be utterly nerve-racking. You have to discuss unpleasant matters such as division of assets, and custody of your children (if you have any), which might leave you out of action, and without support.
My friend suggested that rather than talking to my husband, that instead, I should instead talk to a divorce coach. I had never heard of it, so she introduced me to the idea. A divorce coach is very much like an event manager. They take care of all the details relevant to the event, which is, in this case, divorce. They will help you get over the emotional trauma that the idea of separation has caused.
People suffer from psychological wounds, and a divorce coach will take a big chunk of the burden from your shoulders, and lift a weight off your heart. They will guide you during your tough time but will not get into legal affairs. However, they will guide you to systematize your goals and make a plan to navigate the divorce.
Here’s my overview of the differences between a divorce lawyer and a divorce coach:
They will not offer any legal help and will not be your psychologist. However, your divorce coach is your mentor and guide. Many people find themselves in denial when going through divorce, and have a hard time accepting the horrid situation divorce is about to cause in their lives. A divorce coach will help to motivate and uplift you throughout the process.
They generally work alongside divorce attorneys. While the lawyers go to battle for you, they need to know what you really want, as an outcome. The role of the divorce coach is to help you decide which matters are important to you, and which matters are crucial.
Remember that a divorce attorney’s job is to go through all the legal details, prepare your paperwork, file the divorce petition, fetch alimony or any settlement, for that matter, and so on. It is not a divorce attorney’s responsibility to hear your emotional trauma or make you feel better. Practically, lawyers charge for their time, so you don’t want to be paying for them to listen to your feelings when you could be getting a much better qualified person, at a much cheaper rate, to do that! So, instead of looking for emotional support from a divorce attorney, you can fetch the advice of a divorce coach to settle all the issues, prepare your goals, and handle the matter more maturely.
That said, you probably do need a divorce lawyer. While your divorce coach will be really helpful, and will make you feel great, they aren’t lawyers, and can’t help you represent yourself in court like a lawyer can. So remember that a divorce coach will not review the agreements or legal paperwork for you. Either hire a consulting attorney or acquire the services of a full-on divorce lawyer for that. If your particular divorce is not a nightmare situation, for example, if your husband is willing to talk through issues and not fight you the whole way, then you can expect that you won’t need to spend so much on lawyers, but definitely don’t go into a divorce without legal representation, or you will come off worse for it. I know it’s a lot of money, but you could lose a lot more if you don’t make the effort early on.
My husband was an architect. He was perfectly able to go to work and draw his buildings, put walls on plans, and do other work, so he was not nearly as affected by the divorce as me. But if you’re a creative person, this whole affair can really stop you from producing for a long time. My advice for you is to not stop, to not put your life on hold “until the divorce is over”. Just keep pushing, keep going, and don’t stop doing your art. I fell into that trap, and my divorce coach helped me climb out of it. It will take a lot longer than you think, so it’s better to not wait for it, or else you might be waiting for months. Pick up your pen today, and start writing the new chapter of your life. Your creative juices will thank you later.