Um, What Is a 'Divorce Doula'?

It’s been six years since “conscious uncoupling” broke the internet and redefined the way we do divorce. And in its wake, more forward-thinking concepts have cropped up, from divorced couples who still live and/or work together to divorce apps meant to ease communication between parents in conflict. One particularly interesting new concept that's come from this mindset is the idea of a divorce doula.

According to Maren Cardillo, an attorney at New York firm Divorce Mediation Professionals, a divorce doula (sometimes referred to as a divorce coach) offers expert advice and a shoulder to cry on. Yup, just like their childbirth-coaching counterparts. Explains Cardillo: “A divorce coach is usually a non-lawyer who provides hand-holding and information throughout the process.” And they can cater to your exact circumstances. “For someone who needs assistance managing expenses, a coach with a financial background could be helpful. For someone who needs parenting advice, a mental health background would be preferred.”

Take, for example, Toronto-based doula Lynn Kaplan, who addresses both the practical complexities of separation (prepping clients to work with lawyers, financial planners and the like) as well as the emotional, “Serving as a crutch, a sounding board, a friend and a partner.”

Here's how one of Kaplan's clients (anonymously, for confidentiality purposes) described her experience: “I wish I had found Lynn earlier in my divorce. By the time I found her, the communication between me and my ex-husband was unbearable. Lynn helped me to really take the time to look at every email I sent to make them as neutral as possible, to keep down my stress and the hostility. Amazingly, six months later , my ex and I are able to work together most of the time to make the best decisions for our three children.”

Doulas: They're not just for babies anymore.

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