As the number of divorces filed in the UK is expected to reach its peak this month, a former lawyer turned coach has launched a new service for women to help guide them through the divorce process. Emma Heptonstall, The Divorce Alchemist, has created a programme to help women, who are considering divorce, understand what options are available to them.
‘Divorces in January increase by as much as a third as people either want to make a fresh start, or they get through Christmas for the sake of family and then file,’ explains Emma who also acts as a family mediator. ‘The problem for many women in this situation is not knowing what their options are, coupled with shock and volatile emotions. I have created a service where I explain the process, outline what alternatives they have and help them rationally plan ahead.’
Emma believes this guidance has been lacking, resulting in poor choices being made and huge legal bills being generated unnecessarily.
‘Divorce often puts women at an economic disadvantage, particularly if they have sacrificed their career to look after children. Their gut reaction is to hire a lawyer immediately, but often end up using them for handholding, counselling and emotional advice, instead of legal guidance, which can rack up big bills,’ Emma explains. ‘Lawyers are expensive – a contested divorce ranges from £8k to £10k per person – and they should only be retained once the parties involved have a clear understanding of what is going to work best for them.’
Emma has created a simple seven-step programme that clearly explains the divorce process to women and helps them get clear on what they want emotionally, practically and financially. This ends up saving them both time and money.
Emma believes women need to make three big decisions before even contacting a lawyer:
- Whether divorce is right for them
- What type of divorce they want
- What type of lawyer they need
‘It’s challenging not to be in fight or flight mode when you’re facing divorce,’ says Emma. ‘I coach women to help them make these decisions by getting them to look at where they are now and where they want to be at the conclusion of their divorce. It helps them stay focused when emotions are running high and gives them the confidence to communicate what they want.’
Based in York, UK, Emma offers one to one coaching either face to face or via Skype. For more details: www.emmaheptonstall.com.
About Emma Heptonstall: The Divorce Alchemist is a qualified barrister who has served as a legal advisor for thirteen years. She is also a family mediator, certified MBit Coach, has a diploma in counselling skills and is an NLP Master Practitioner. She set up The Divorce Alchemist in December 2014 to provide divorce coaching for women who know that they need support to deal with the practical and emotional aspects of their divorce in order to make good decisions, which will support their lives as a confident divorced woman. She is based in York.