Ready to navigate the complexities of divorce with more peace and clarity than you ever thought possible? Join me for part one of my amazing conversation with Lauren Fair, a family law attorney, certified divorce coach, and master certified life coach, who'll enlighten us on the immense benefits of resolving divorce issues outside the courtroom. Lauren not only clarifies the distinct roles of a divorce coach and a grief coach but also highlights how each can provide invaluable support during this challenging life transition.
My conversation with Lauren delves into the realm of alternative approaches to the divorce process. We discuss the power of a divorce coach in helping individuals uncover their long-term goals and make thoughtful decisions that echo their needs. Together, we unravel the potential of mediation, and how the American Bar Association recognizes mediating with a divorce coach as a viable alternative. We stress the importance of understanding the various divorce procedures available, their associated costs, and respective advantages and disadvantages.
Lauren also shares her insights on how divorce coaching can be a powerful tool in conflict management, fostering efficient communication skills, and creating a structure to navigate conflict throughout the divorce journey. We also touch on the relevance of emotional regulation in breaking unhealthy conflict patterns and the value of focusing on values-based decision making. With Lauren, we explore how grief coaching can help individuals engage in the divorce process in a more holistic and informed way. Lastly, we delve into the merits of one-on-one coaching for lasting change and how it can help individuals address root causes that may have led to the divorce. Join us for part one of this enlightening discussion and equip yourself with the tools to traverse the emotionally challenging terrain of divorce.
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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it show up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.
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Full Episode Transcript:
You're listening to episode number 131 of Becoming you Again. I am your host, Karin Nelson, and I am so happy you're here. Welcome to Becoming you Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, karen Nelson. I am so excited for today's episode and actually it's going to be a two-part episode, so I'm very excited for this week's episode and next week's episode. I have an amazing guest today. Her name is Lauren Fair. You're going to meet her in just a minute and he listened to our incredible conversation. That was so incredible and so long that I actually had to split it into two different podcasts because we talk about so many amazing things. But let me just give you a very quick snippet of what we talk about. Lauren is an accomplished woman who is a family law attorney and also a certified divorce coach and life coach In the first half of this episode, which you're going to have the privilege of listening to. In just a minute you're going to hear about Lauren's background. You are going to hear some of her do's and don'ts when it comes to divorce from a legal standpoint, and we're also going to talk about the difference between being a divorce coach and being a grief coach and how each one has their own benefits that can help you as you go through your divorce. And that's just this episode. Stay tuned for next week, where you will get the second half of our amazing conversation. I am so excited to share with you both of these episodes. So, without further ado, here is the first half of my conversation with Lauren Fair. Welcome back to the podcast. My lovely ladies, I'm so excited for you to meet my guest today. She is Lauren Fair and she is an amazing divorce coach, but also she has the background of being a lawyer, and I'm going to let her just kind of introduce herself and tell you as much as she wants about her story and who she is. So, lauren, thank you so much for being on the podcast today.
Lauren Fair: 2:17
Oh, thank you, Karin, for inviting me on. I'm really excited to be here and chat with you and your ladies.
Karin Nelson: 2:22
Yeah, so can you tell my audience just a little bit more about you and maybe even share as much of your story as you would like about coaching and about becoming a lawyer and anything else that you want us to know about you?
Lauren Fair: 2:33
Sure, yeah, so I am a family law attorney. I'm based in San Diego, california. I've been working in the area of family law in California since about 2007. And I am certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in the area of family law since 2014. And, together with my law partner, we own a boutique family law firm in San Diego called Fercador APC, and, in addition to practicing family law, I am also a trained family law mediator, a certified divorce coach and a master certified life coach. So personally, right now, what I spend most of my days doing with that kind of blend of activities that I've come to be involved in, I spend a lot of time managing the law firm and the staff and the operations of it. Basically, and in terms of actual substantive family law work, I do a lot of consulting and helping clients resolve their divorces out of court as much as possible.
Karin Nelson: 3:50
I love that. I think that's so beneficial for, I mean, you would know even more than me because you work in the law, the system but I think being able to settle out of court, I just can't see a better advantage to that. And you tell me your opinion on that, but it just seems like there's so much of an advantage to that for both sides.
Lauren Fair: 4:15
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I always approach cases with an eye for how can we settle this reasonably outside of court, because it allows, I think, the clients to have a better experience with the divorce process, to have some control over what the outcome is right, because they have to live with what that outcome is and how that's going to impact their daily lives going forward post-divorce, and I really advocate for having as much control over what that looks like as possible, and whenever you go to court, you give up that control to the judge, who is doing the best that they can right. The issue is, though, the courts are underfunded and overburdened with numbers of cases in many areas certainly in San Diego and definitely in various areas around the country that's true as well and they don't have a lot of time to spend on the case. They're never going to know your family as well as you do, and so I really like to look at what are the other options other than that and having going to court and having a judge make a decision for you about these really sensitive matters where your children are going to put their head at night to sleep and when right, just trying to have that be something that you maintain as much control over within your family as possible is just something I think is really important.
Karin Nelson: 5:50
I totally agree. When I went through my divorce it was actually pretty easy. Like sometimes I feel like I can't offer women advice when it comes to should I go to mediation, should I go to court? Because mine was so amicable. We completely just agreed on splitting everything 50-50, time with the kids, finances, all of that. So it was a very simple process for me and my ex. But I know that that is very much not the usual, normal case when it comes to divorce and so I love this idea of having women. Women especially, like most of my clients are women and I don't know you, maybe you have a good mix of the two. But I know for women that can be part of. The scary thing is feeling like you have no control, no say, over where your kids go, how much time you get to spend with them, the finances that are coming to you after the divorce. And maybe it's that same way for men as well, who maybe feel out of control, like they feel like they're losing all of their finances. You know if that's kind of the stereotypical story of divorce, where men are making more money than the women and the women are losing time with their kids, who they often spent more time with overall, but tell me your thoughts on that of like, is it more of a balance that you find between men and women feeling the same and and fearing the same thing?
Lauren Fair: 7:16
Yeah, I think uncertainty is a big one. The common feelings I see come up in clients, I think, both in the coaching realm as well as in the law practice, is Fear of the unknown.
Karin Nelson: 7:36
Lauren Fair: 7:37
Overwhelm is a big one. And then you know it's a mixture of other, I think, emotions that come up as part of the grief process. You know, sadness and anger, sometimes depression, and all of those emotions can really manifest themselves in different ways in terms of what we see about. You know how long cases take, how much they cost, right, because those emotions translate into behaviors in the parties, right, it's so true, yeah, and it's so normal for that to be happening. Right, like, for example, sometimes you know if you're in a space of you know being feeling like you were blindsided, right, and With the divorce filing and you're not really sure you know how we got here, and Let alone like having to you know face now, what do we do, and all of the uncertainty that comes with that, and so sometimes that can look like avoidance for the process, right, or kind of doing the bare minimum, you know, in the legal process in the beginning, because they're emotionally trying to catch up to where you know the partner is, because I find that usually both spouses are not at the same place emotionally in terms of we're processing the divorce, you know, or the separation, what led to the separation, that kind of thing, and when they're not in the same place. You know that can impact things like. You know how long it takes and how much it costs. But I Think that what you mentioned earlier is is very common is there's a lot of focus on, you know, what is being lost in the process and really, to be honest, I mean family court is really not a place where there's a lot of winning involved. It really is a Place where we're trying to minimize the losses for both parties. So it's really degrees of losing in most cases, because you know everyone is giving something up in the process. Right time with your kids, money that you had in one household Doesn't go as far as it does in two, right, but there's also so much to be gained on the other side of it. But in the short term it's really easy, you know, for our minds to focus only on the things that we're losing and sometimes I think we lose sight of the things that we're gaining as well.
Karin Nelson: 9:59
Yeah, and I think that's an important thing to remember because, like, I teach my clients a lot about this idea of 5050 and all things right, of like emotionally 5050. Of like there's gonna be good and there's going to be bad things in in all of it and everything that we experienced in a life, and when you can kind of Wide in your lens and think about your divorce in that same way too. I really like how you put that of like it's not that somebody is winning in this, you know, situation of a divorce. It's that we're trying to minimize the losses, but then on the other side of that there can be some really amazing things that can go on as well. Yeah, I know for my own experience in my divorce, like, yes, of course, I, you know, have lost time with my kids and you know just all the things that go into the loss of the end of that relationship, the end of that marriage. Mm-hmm and I have watched my ex-husband grow in his ability to parent and become this really amazing father, which I feel like he never really stepped into or Embraced while we were married and not that every husband or ex-husband does that, but I love that my ex has been able to do that and has a much stronger relationship with our kids than I feel like he ever had before our divorce and at the same time, I've been able to kind of expand and grow myself and my own personal Love for myself and my own ability to step into my own power and, you know, become my own person, which was, I felt, very stifled about that in my own marriage and I think, like you said, there's going to be losses but there's also going to be so much that you can gain outside of it as well.
Lauren Fair: 11:45
Yeah, yeah, I love that you have been able to kind of identify those areas for you that are better now, post divorce, you know then then they were previously and like these areas where you both have grown personally because of having to Go through this transition and make those changes.
Karin Nelson: 12:04
Yeah. So, lauren, since you are a lawyer but you are also a coach, what would you say? Are there any like do's and don'ts when it comes to like a Legal perspective that you would maybe offer to just the general population of somebody who might be going through a divorce right now?
Lauren Fair: 12:24
Yes, definitely, and I think, although these are coming from a legal perspective, I I can't help but having a little bit of coaching color. I think you should.
Karin Nelson: 12:34
I 100% think you should please add it in, because I think I honestly think, like, of course it's. It's amazing to have a good lawyer in like in your, in your corner. I think that's an important part of it. But for me, a divorce coach who is so much about the mental and emotional aspect, that's what I focus on, like all the time on my podcast. So I love having your perspective, because you have both and you can meld them together, you know, in this beautiful way, and so I'm so excited to hear your advice right now.
Lauren Fair: 13:06
Awesome. So I think where I'd start is a Do would be to slow down and really consider what is the outcome that is going to be the most important to you at the end of this. You have a much better chance at hitting whatever that target is if we know where we're aiming from the beginning. Many of the conversations and the decisions that you make early on in the process, sometimes even before the legal process starts Can affect the level of conflict and the length and the cost of the proceeding as well, as you know. What is your co-parenting relationship going to look like when this is all done? Yeah, and I find that, particularly as a lawyer, a lot of the initial communications that I have from potential clients come in situations where they're in a panic or it's a knee jerk sort of reaction to usually some sort of conflict that just happened right, whether it's earlier that day or the day before. It might be something that they've been thinking about for a while, but they only kind of reach out in that moment of an acute situation that has driven them to actually go forward with making that step to reach out to an attorney, and certainly if you are in a situation where you feel like you need immediate information and protection, then you should certainly reach out to an attorney whenever you need that, but usually when you're in that emotional state that has you making that panic phone call, it's not necessarily the most grounded state to be making good decisions for the long term from.
Karin Nelson: 15:02
Yes, I've talked about this on my podcast before, and you and I both just finished up this trauma certification program, which is where I met you and I'm so excited that I was able to connect with you through there and so I've talked about that a lot of really allowing your body to become grounded so that you can kind of turn your prefrontal cortex back online, because when we are in that more heightened state of a nervous system, we do make, as you say, knee-jerk decisions over things that can impact truly the rest of our lives, and that is not necessarily the state that you want to be in to make these kind of impassable, important decisions that are going to be coming up as you go through a divorce.
Lauren Fair: 15:48
Right yeah, because when your prefrontal cortex is offline and you're operating from this more primitive portion of your brain that is driven by those negative emotions that often come up in divorce, where we're feeling threatened, then you're more likely to, for example, hire the first lawyer that you talk to simply because they were available and talked to you in that moment where you were panicked and that might not be the wrong person to choose, but sometimes we're just really not in the best place to assess that at that moment and then that you may find out a short time later perhaps that wasn't the right attorney for you, and then that's already created an impact for you, potentially financially, and also maybe some decisions that were made in terms of the legal process up front that now maybe you're thinking you want to walk back, and I think the traditional approach in terms of divorce and involving attorneys in the divorce process has been all right. I've decided I want to get a divorce. I'm just going to hire an attorney and they're going to file papers and they're going to serve my spouse and I'm going to let them just handle this whole thing for me. That's just not the only way of doing it anymore and sometimes that might be the right approach based on your case, but in many cases there are other options that are available that oftentimes I find are more in line with the client's ultimate goals, which is getting through the process as quickly as possible with the least financial resources spent on the process, doing the least amount of emotional harm to their children in the process, et cetera. So I think this piece of slowing down and really thinking about what, in the long term, is really going to be most important to me here, and then tailoring your approach to the process based on the target that you want to hit at the end, is a really big do that I would highlight for you.
Karin Nelson: 18:03
I love that. I think that's so smart, because I think you're absolutely right. You often will just like we're so emotional going, you know whether it's we've found out about an affair, or we're just tired of putting up with all the bullshit, or like whatever. Right, there's so many other reasons why people get divorced, but in that emotional state we're just like throwing darts at. We don't even know where, no idea where that target is. And so I love this idea of just like slowing down, taking a breath and figuring it out. Like, where do I? Where am I headed? What am I shooting for? What is the end goal here? That is gold, gold advice. Love it. What else?
Lauren Fair: 18:49
Well, I you know I alluded to it a moment ago, but I think you know, just to be really clear about it, I think you know there are lots of different ways to approach legal process now that there is not a ton of education available about upfront, and so really, you know getting the information that you need to understand in your jurisdiction, what are the processes that are available to me to work through the legal process and what you know, what are the costs attendant to all those different processes and the pros and cons to each. And making a really intentional decision around that upfront is really important because you know you may only have a certain degree of control over whether that's the process that ultimately gets selected. So, for example, mediation is an option and that's a voluntary process, so your spouse would need to agree right to participate in that process In most situations. I mean, there are times when there is some court connected mediation that occurs in certain jurisdictions, sometimes, for example, related to custody issues. There may be some compulsory mediation for limited issues in certain places, but I'm talking about where you choose to put the entire you know case through mediation with the goal of reaching a global agreement on everything from the beginning. So that is something that you've got to agree to. And so if you know upfront though here's what I would like to do you know you can prepare yourself for having that conversation with your spouse in a way that sets you up to, you know, have the best chance of them agreeing with that in the beginning. Right, and you know it's a situation where, depending on what the process is that you want to adopt, you can try the one that most closely fits. You know what your goals are, and sometimes that you know is mediation. That's a common option that I see a lot of women selecting these days, and if it doesn't work, you always have the option of, you know, moving to that next level of process. That might, you know, involve a little bit more adversarialness or cost, etc. But at least you know you've sort of tried, you know one of the other options, but it's really case specific as to what the right decision is, because it's not, you know, always the same starting point for every case, based on the dynamics of that case.
Karin Nelson: 21:35
Yeah, absolutely An important thing that comes into that is kind of knowing again it goes back to that what's the end goal that I want, and kind of knowing your own self and what you feel is going to be best for you. And I love this idea of like not necessarily going straight to what we've all kind of thought of when it comes to divorce is like it's going to the courts. That's just the way it is, but understanding that, as you say, there are so many other options that maybe haven't been available in the past and that are really coming to the forefront. I may be jumping ahead just a little bit, but I saw in a post that you put out a while ago that the American Bar Association is recognizing as a way to resolve divorce disputes this idea of mediating with a divorce coach and that that is another alternative, as well as probably other things that I clearly don't have the background or knowledge on. But talk more about that, this idea of being able to resolve things, and you've kind of already kind of gone into some explanation of it, but anything else that you might want to add about not necessarily going like zero to 100, which 100 would be the court system right and you're judge who's deciding everything for you. But, like, maybe taking that baby step of like, let's try this. Hopefully I can get my ex or my soon to be ex, on board and let's see if this works for us and if not, what does that lead to? What's our next step? But at least we tried, like you just kind of laid out for us Exactly.
Lauren Fair: 23:10
Yeah. So divorce coaching is recognized by the American Bar Association as an alternative dispute resolution process. I'll just give you the definition that the ABA provides for divorce coaching and that is divorce coaching is a flexible, goal oriented process designed to support, motivate and guide people through divorce to help them make the best possible decisions for their future, based on their particular interest, needs and concerns. And so kind of what that really translates to in terms of the work that I do with clients is I utilize an ADR based coaching framework that prepares clients to have the skills and strategies that they need to do kind of a whole host of things throughout the divorce process to successfully engage in it, and so an example of that would be recognizing and managing conflict. So we identify specific areas of conflict, increase awareness of the clients conflict style, their spouses conflict style and the unhealthy patterns that they've engaged in in the past and opportunities for changing that dynamic. Because, especially if they have children, you know usually there are, you know there are some of these unhealthy patterns and conflict kind of dynamics that have contributed to the breakdown of the marriage and if they go unaddressed they continue post-divorce and oftentimes worsen because they're not on the same page anymore. They're not together any longer, their interests diverge further, and so, you know, it can be really helpful to be able to gain that awareness around the conflict issues and see where there are opportunities to change them and then where the client wants to make a change, then we look at, you know, what are the strategies that we can employ to make those changes, because even though I'm only coaching one spouse, one person does have the power to influence the dynamic.
Karin Nelson: 25:25
I love that.
Lauren Fair: 25:26
Yeah, so you know, part of this process also involves, you know, working on the emotional regulation that you need in order to disrupt those conflict patterns. We develop effective client communication skills and establish a structure to manage conflict through the divorce process and, like I said, also into those future co-parenting relationships. So you know, I think that's one of the key differences with you know, utilizing an ADR-based coaching framework is we're really looking at how can we reduce or manage conflict.
Karin Nelson: 26:06
Yeah, I love that. I think that's going to be, and I don't know how. I mean, I'm from Utah, you're from San Diego, so I haven't heard very much talk about this, this idea of like, because I consider myself a divorce coach, but I've actually kind of shifted to recognizing myself more as a grief coach because I, like I said, earlier am really focused on the mental and emotional needs of my client, not necessarily like looking at the conflict and between the two parties and trying, you know how best to work that into the actual divorce process, which I think is so needed and so necessary when it comes to going through something as emotionally charged as a divorce, and to have these skills in your back pocket and to be able to move forward, knowing the direction that you want to go in. And then also like how can I best show up for myself? but how can I prepare myself to kind of enter this, this not I don't want to say war, because not every divorce is a war- but, this, like this engagement with my soon to be ex in a more well rounded, in a more informed way, to where I'm showing up as my best self and I know how to handle what they are possibly going to throw at me. Yes, that is going to be so helpful for so many people who find themselves in this situation.
Lauren Fair: 27:34
Yeah, yeah, and so is what you're doing with the grief. You know work that you're doing with clients because, like I mentioned a bit earlier, it shows up so much in the divorce process, right where each spouse is with the grief process and kind of you know how that's manifesting itself and it's not a linear process. So you know, you kind of might find yourself in different stages of it throughout the process, and I think a lot of the time that when you're going through it you're not really aware that's what's happening. Though, and if you can get support to really better understand that, it, I think, allows access to a lot of self compassion and a lot of you know personal growth that can happen with it. And so I think it's important, you know, when people are looking for a divorce coach, to kind of really know for themselves, and sometimes a coach can help them uncover that like where am I really wanting the support in this process the most? And that can kind of help, you know, determine, you know what the best kind of approach for them might be. So you know, I think, some other ways that you know there's probably a lot of overlap in ways that we're able to help people, and you know? One of those things too, I think, is, you know, looking at values based decision making.
Karin Nelson: 29:07
Lauren Fair: 29:09
Because divorce really involves a series of difficult decisions that need to be made. When they're in grief.
Karin Nelson: 29:19
There's such an understatement like these. Yeah, it's very important. Very Things are going to like just move through the rest of your life, kind of a decisions.
Lauren Fair: 29:30
Yeah, yeah, and you know, I think too, you know I'm thinking about one client I've worked with recently where, you know, I think for her she was just, you know, in this stage of grief, that really was making it difficult for her to be prepared and able to engage in the divorce process. That was sort of a train that was already moving, you know, that she wasn't really able to get off of, you know, while also still protecting her legal interests and kind of allowing the process to go, you know, in the way that she most wanted, which was, you know, in a way that had the conflict being as minimal as possible and resolving it out of court, etc. And so, you know, I think there's in that situation, you know, a need for you know both coaching around the process, you know, getting the education that you need for understanding the process and your options in it, which is really the part that I focus most on with clients. But then there's also this in tandem need for you know handling the grief and all of the impact that that's having, you know, in the ability to just, you know, do what you need to do in the day, in addition to, you know, engaging in the divorce process.
Karin Nelson: 30:56
Yeah, that is smart. I can envision and I'm not even like a sports person, like at all understand some sports but what I'm envisioning is like we've got the coach on the sideline of a basketball game, right, and that's the divorce coach who's walking you through all of the process, all of the things that you need to know to go into the game and like do your best. And then you've got, like in the after hours you've got your coach who's helping you with your free throws and that's like the grief coach who's helping you through like the emotional minutiae of the things that are happening within you, the things that you're really struggling with. That is kind of keeping you stuck and kind of keeping you from being able to show up as your best self as you go through this crazy process of the divorce and what that ends up being. So I think you're right. I think there's a lot of overlap, but there's a place for each specific thing and I think that's a beautiful thing. And also I think that you know you as the individual gets to recognize for yourself where do I need the more of the focus right now? Maybe it's for both, maybe it's one, maybe it's the other, maybe at the beginning it's for the divorce coach, maybe later it's for the grief or vice versa, but I think that is something that you can tap into to know for yourself what is going to be the best route for you. Right, exactly, there you have it. That was the first half of my amazing conversation with Lauren Fair. Make sure you tune in to next week's episode, which is the continuation of my conversation with Lauren, where we talk more about the ADR-based coaching and how that can be beneficial to you as you go through your divorce. We also talk about the keys to successfully navigating the transition between being married and being divorced and being able to move forward from there, and we also talk about how to create safety and space to get the best answer for yourself when it comes to deciding on whether or not you should actually get divorced. You're also going to hear, as a bonus at the end of next week's episode, lauren's top tips to empowering women who are moving through the divorce process. Make sure and tune in to hear the second half of this incredible conversation. Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening. I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one-on-one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life, with weekly coaching, real-life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one-on-one, go to KarinNelsonCoaching dot com. That's wwwKARINNELSONCoaching dot com. Thanks for listening. If this podcast agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give me a rating. Wherever you listen to podcasts and for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.