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DIVORCE COACHING

by Attorney Harold Brienes

1. WHAT IS DIVORCE COACHING?

  1. If you want to control your divorce process as much as possible, without the cost of a full-service divorce attorney, then Divorce Coaching will help you achieve that goal. While it offers you the expertise of an experienced family lawyer, it provides you only with the legal advice you need to proceed with your divorce. You decide, with the help of your divorce coach, what information and services you require. And you pay only for as much or as little as you need.

2. EXAMPLES OF DIVORCE COACHING:

SOME QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK BEFORE THE DIVORCE:

  1. Understanding the basics of Connecticut divorce law and practice. For instance,
    1. Can I leave the family home without being accused of deserting my family?
    2. If my spouse lives in the house and I live elsewhere during the divorce, do I have to contribute to the payment of the mortgage?
    3. Can my spouse change the locks on the house?
    4. Can I change beneficiaries on my life insurance policy?
    5. Can my spouse remove me from his/her health insurance plan?
    6. Do I have to support my spouse during the divorce?
    7. Can I get support from my spouse during the divorce?
    8. How much money must I give to my spouse?
    9. Must I pay child support?
    10. How is child support determined?
    11. Must I pay alimony?
    12. Can I get alimony?
    13. Is there a formula for paying or receiving alimony?
    14. Can my spouse refuse to allow me to see our children?
    15. Can the court force me to pay for my child’s college education?
    16. Can my ex-wife/husband move away with our child?
    17. Can I date before the divorce is granted?
    18. How long will it take to get a divorce in Connecticut?
    19. What paperwork is required?
    20. Do we have to hire lawyers or can we do the divorce by ourselves?
    21. What other choices do we have other than doing the divorce by ourselves?

Knowing the answers to those questions, as well as others that you have, will empower you to articulate your goals in a rational, unthreatening and non-defensive manner. Your divorce coach is dedicated to assist you in this important process.

3. IS DIVORCE COACHING FOR ME?

Not everyone feels comfortable taking the reins. Some divorcing spouses have enough to handle just surviving the physical, mental and emotional drain that comes with this life-altering change, not to mention the necessity of continuing to make a living. If that describes your outlook, you would probably benefit from a more inclusive type of representation. You can find several different approaches on my HumaneDivorce website that will suit your needs. Please read my articles on Divorce Mediation, Collaborative Divorce, Marital Mediation and Unbundled Legal Services. You can find them on the Home Page or in the drop-down menu pictured on the left side of each page. I’ll also gladly speak with you or answer your e-mailed questions without charge or obligation If you’ve read this far, however, chances are that you do want to have a degree of control over your divorce. Divorce Coaching is designed to help you achieve that goal. The next two paragraphs illustrate different types of divorce coaching available.

4. DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIVORCE COACHING:

You’ve decided that divorce coaching is right for you. Now the question is: What kind of coaching suits your situation?

  1. Self-representation – One Divorce Coach:

    You and your spouse want to proceed without attorneys. That’s known as “self-representation.” You may also hear this called “pro se representation.” The two of you are able to sit down and reach an agreement on all, or most of your issues. The help you want is in understanding the legal, practical and tax implications of your choices. Both of you agree to work with the same impartial divorce coach. You also agree to use your coach as an impartial mediator to help you with any unresolved issues.

  2. Self-representation – Separate Divorce Coaches:

    You both still want a Do-It-Yourself divorce, but have agreed that having separate coaches fits your situation. In this scenario, you and your spouse will work with your respective coaches to define your interests and plan negotiating strategy. Then, the two of you will attempt to negotiate an agreement together. If and when necessary, you will meet individually with your coaches to help resolve any snags that have arisen in your negotiations. Because this is a creative process, you can tailor the solution to fit your unique circumstances. That could mean having joint coaching sessions with everyone attending. Or a meeting of the coaches alone. You can see that there is no single technique that fits every condition.

With your coach’s guidance you will learn how to reach consensus with your spouse in a dignified, non-confrontational way. You will not be trapped in a do-it-yourself litigation; no winners and losers; no “bottom lines,” “dealbreakers,” or “take-it-or-leave-it” threats. Only two people who can look forward to achieving their goals without the bitterness and anguish that a winner-take-all process like litigation encourages.

Reaching a win-win result means knowing the difference between negotiating from your interests and from a position. Your coach will show you how interest-based negotiation can establish an atmosphere of empathy and trust which are essential to peacefully resolving the issues that still divide you.

Positional negotiation is really just a demand without any apparent connection to what you really need. When both spouses only make demands, they lose the ability to listen. They cannot respond to what the other one needs in order to peacefully and respectfully resolve their differences. That makes it difficult to move ahead with their lives.

5. SKILLS FOR A LIFETIME:

Understanding your interests, needs and goals are skills that you will put into use in a variety of ways unconnected to any legal process. For parents, the ability to successfully cooperate and communicate with each other will bestow a lasting benefit on your children. Learning to resolve any differences that arise in child-rearing with interest-based negotiation is a skill you will both share for the rest of your lives. And your kids will thank you for that.

Perhaps the most valuable skill you can take away from coaching is the ability to teach by example. This skill is called “modeling behavior.” It means that people can be influenced to respond by the way they are treated. What do you do when someone gives you a friendly smile? Of course, you smile back. It’s an instinctive response. And done with sincerity, behavior-modeling establishes a trusting atmosphere that opens the way an honest, empathetic conversation. When this skill is carried through the entire process – whether negotiating the terms of your divorce or the price of a house – it reinforces the spirit of cooperation, so essential to a successful outcome.If you would like to pursue Divorce Coaching, have questions about this subject, or need more information, just call me at 203-372-9055, or send an e-mail to brielaw@snet.net. I will be happy to follow up on your inquiry.

Thanks for spending the time with me today.

Sincerely,

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Harold Brienes