Splitting up from a longtime partner and getting a divorce can be an emotional, complicated and sometimes confusing process. Many of those who are ready to exit a marriage might wish to have someone on-call to help navigate the complexities of the process and answer any questions they might have — someone like a divorce concierge. Enlisting the aid of a divorce concierge (or coach) has been an increasing trend over the years. Some divorce concierges might work independently or some, like Lynn Myrick, the divorce concierge at Sodoma Law, might work exclusively with a law firm.
“As a divorce concierge, I am here to serve as the calm in the storm,” Myrick tells SheKnows. “Having a divorce concierge is like having a personal assistant to help you manage not only the detailed logistics and resources better in your life, but also your emotional landscape and how you can and will stay grounded and strong.”
Going above and beyond the legal aspects of divorce
“Divorced people are thrown into a completely new and different life, and even with an amazing legal team, there are so many other decisions to be made that clients need expert help in navigating,” says Myrick who has a B.A. in psychology and is a certified life coach. Myrick says she wanted to pursue being a divorce concierge “because I know there is a serious need for a trained professional to fill in the gaps between the legal processes of divorce, the emotional and the logistic sides.”
Whether a client needs or wants to seek out a therapist, find a new bank and open an account, or buy a new car, the services Myrick runs varies, and she is there to identify the resources that meet the client’s needs and help provide them.
Adding some self-care to the divorce process
For Nicole Sodoma, Managing Principal at Sodoma Law, the inspiration behind creating a divorce concierge role and concept is “rooted in our commitment to our clients — but not just as clients, as people. What we have learned over the years is that clients need more than just a legal advocate. They need a support system that extends beyond the agreement that is signed or the divorce judgment that is entered.”
Sodoma says that when clients are made aware the firm has someone in-house who can help them navigate the next chapter of their lives, “we usually get a sigh of relief.”
“Just knowing they have someone to help with whatever they need often brings a sense of peace and calm that can be rare for those in the midst of divorce proceedings,” says Sodoma.
Both Sodoma and Myrick say that a divorce concierge is best suited for anyone who is going through a divorce or separation and needs support. “Maybe you’re a client who feels lost and unsure what to do next. A divorce concierge can help you figure out what your next step might be,” says Sodoma. “Maybe you know what your next steps are, but you’re unsure of how to get there – a divorce concierge can help recommend the right resources to get you on your way. Regardless of the obstacle you’re facing, a Divorce Concierge can help you work through it so you can get started enjoying the life you’re building.”
Is a divorce concierge necessary?
Not every lawyer agrees with the necessity of a divorce concierge. “The concept of a ‘divorce concierge’ is simply a waste of money. The average person does not need to spend even more money than a divorce already costs merely to have their hand held,” says David Reischer, a divorce attorney and CEO of LegalAdvice.com. “Yes, the divorce process can be mentally draining and exhausting but throwing gobs of money at a problem is not necessarily the best solution to dealing with a problem.”
Reischer says his main concern with a divorce concierge is that a client will rely too much on the divorce concierge to manage most of the aspects of their own life instead of the person having self-agency and making their own decisions. “It may seem convenient to hire a ‘divorce concierge’ to help sell the family homes or find health insurance coverage but these are things that an adult person should know how to do on their own without the intrusion of a third party. Part of being an adult is making decisions oneself and doing the hard work associated, not merely just outsourcing routine tasks to a third party.”
Reischer says he doesn’t advise his clients to hire a divorce concierge. Instead, he says a person going through a divorce is best to rely on the support of their family, friends, and if necessary a therapist or support group. “A person getting divorced is best empowered to make the tough decisions confronted when getting divorced. It is important to retain individual authority over the decision-making process involved in a divorce.”
Navigating unchartered waters
Divorce, whether it’s amicable or not or handled with or without a divorce concierge, can have its fair share of challenges. Which is why Sodoma advises that couples understand a few things beforehand. First, “know each divorce is different” and second, do your research in all aspects before proceeding legally. “Meet with a family law attorney, heck – meet with several!” she says. “Know your options and don’t be afraid to explore them. Divorce isn’t for everyone, but marriage isn’t either and that is okay.” Perhaps, most importantly, Sodoma says, “Be open to hearing what your attorney has to say. Making the decision to separate or divorce can be a difficult one. You will likely be relieved by some of the feedback, but meeting with an experienced family law attorney should also raise awareness of issues you may not have previously considered.”
In all cases, Sodoma recommends being overly prepared. “Take the time to write your questions down before you arrive at the meeting with your attorney. Often times, once that meeting gets underway, clients can feel a little overwhelmed and it may be hard to remember everything they planned to ask. By bringing a well thought out list of questions, as well as all the financials and other relevant materials, you and your attorney can cover as much as possible.”
When in doubt, ask question when needed, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. “My role is needed because sometimes adults have a hard time asking for help — even when we need it most,” says Myrick. “I like to say, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ and when it comes to divorce and separation that is certainly true. It’s not just the emotional hurdles you’re facing, it’s also the logistics of coping with life after divorce.”
A version of this story was published October 2019.
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