A divorce coach is a mental health or social work professional who helps separating spouses settle amicably without going to court. Divorce coaches can come from a variety of counseling backgrounds, but they generally have an advanced degree and/or a license in mental health or social work.
Divorce coaches work with couples through arbitration. According to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), they should be licensed marriage therapists or mental health counselors, or they should have a doctoral degree. Minimal special divorce training is also required.
|Required education||Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), or other mental health/social work license, or Ph.D., or Psy.D.|
|Other requirements||60 hours of IACP training|
|Projected Job Growth* (2014-2024)||9% (for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators)|
|Median Annual Salary* (2015)||$58,020 (for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators)|
Source *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for Divorce Coaches
A divorce coach is a type of marriage and family counselor trained to specifically handle the psychological aspects of the divorce process. Divorce coaches don't give legal advice or traditional psychotherapy, but instead help both parties deal with emotional problems that can arise in order to make the process as painless as possible. Most divorce coaches work within the guidelines of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), an organization that helps mental health and legal professionals prevent and resolve conflict.
Divorce coaches are problem solvers who use their background in counseling to mediate and establish a respectful solution to divorce problems. Above all, it is the duty of the divorce coach to keep both parties in collaborative discourse, avoiding the court system and understanding all the material and emotional needs of clients. According to the goals established by the IACP and their collaborative divorce system, a divorce coach must:
- Help clients settle without litigation
- Provide emotional guidance and counseling
- Negotiate between the divorcing spouses
- Establish an atmosphere of honesty and cooperation
- Respect both parties' goals
Job Outlook and Salary Information
Divorce coaches can be considered mediators. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment prospects for mediators, arbitrators and conciliators are expected to be as good as the average for other professions, with a 9% increase in opportunities over the 2014-2024 decade. The median annual salary for mediators, arbitrators and conciliators was $58,020 in May 2015, according to the BLS.
Divorce coaches come from a variety of educational backgrounds, including marriage and family therapy, psychology and social work. They are also often licensed to practice mental health counseling in their state. For example, many divorce coaches are licensed marriage and family therapists (MFTs), a credential that requires a master's or doctoral degree in a mental health field plus supervised clinical experience, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (www.aamft.org).
In addition, the would-be divorce coach must have a strong desire to help others and the ability to inspire confidence, mediate and lead. Strong emotional fortitude and the ability to handle difficult subjects are also encouraged. To practice the IACP's collaborative divorce method, one must meet their minimum practitioner standards, which include:
- A mental health professional license or doctoral degree (Ph.D., Psy.D.)
- A strong background in family systems theory
- At least 60 hours of IACP training
To become a divorce coach, one must be an impartial mediator. The IACP says all divorce coaches should have a mental health license or doctoral degree in a relevant field, as well as familiarity with family counseling.