Divorce is immensely stressful, and often hard to navigate logistically and emotionally. A new group of professionals are helping people lighten the load.

The first six months after Katie, 60, discovered that her husband was having an affair were a blur. She describes the start of her divorce process as similar to a bereavement – food parcels from friends, weight loss, anger and plenty of tears. Katie, who lives near Bath, UK, felt devastated by the end of her 35-year marriage. But a friend of her niece, who was a lawyer, had a suggestion.

“She told me that if I could afford to get a divorce coach, it would be my best investment,” she says.

Katie connected with a Bristol-based divorce coach, and now describes the experience as “life changing”. Her coach, who is a former lawyer, focused heavily on the emotional side of handling the split, and Katie says that this helped her to see her new life as an opportunity – she cleared out items from her home that reminded her of her marriage, and decided to take a gap year to travel the world.

“I remember very strongly thinking: this divorce is not going to define me,” she says. “I remember one session, my divorce coach talking about riding the waves. It’s rough out at sea, the waves are big, the riptide is strong, but it’s what happens when you reach the shoreline that matters the most.”

According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale – which measures the stress of different life events – divorce comes in second as most stressful life experience a person can go through, after the death of a spouse. But a growing cohort of divorce coaches are promising to make the process of separating slightly easier. Experts say that an increasing number of couples and individuals are turning to coaches to help them navigate marital breakdowns, and many divorce lawyers are now referring their clients to a coaching service to help them to handle the emotional, financial and logistical challenges of ending a marriage.

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