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Divorce is a difficult emotional journey, regardless of the circumstances. But in most cases, the divorcing partners are in very different places along that journey. The person leaning out has likely been thinking about ending the marriage for a long time, while the other is a bit of a ‘deer in headlights’ and needs time to catch up emotionally. What role can a divorce coach play in helping the couple navigate this common disconnect?

Shireen Meistrich is the President of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and she has served on the leadership team of the Collaborative Divorce Association of New Jersey since 2007. Shireen has spent the last ten years working as a collaborative divorce coach, helping families increase communication and decrease conflict through the alternative dispute-resolution process. She is skilled in managing the emotional hurdles that present as obstacles toward an effective resolution.

Today, Shireen sits down with Katherine to share her ‘train station’ analogy, explaining how common it is for the initiator to be much further along in the emotional journey of divorce. She discusses the very serious nature of the decision to divorce and the reason why she recommends discernment therapy before couples make the final decision. Shireen walks us through her approach to determining the needs of her clients, describing what the transformational process can look like and how to honor the emotional journey while working toward a resolution. Listen in for insight around effectively communicating your needs and wants during the divorce process and developing a successful co-parenting relationship.


The emotional disconnect between the person leaning in vs. leaning out

The family counselor’s role in helping couples make the decision to divorce

The very serious nature of the decision to divorce

How Shireen honors the history of a divorcing couple’s marriage

How discernment therapy helps a couple see if there’s any viability to the marriage

How Shireen determines the unique needs of her clients

What a transformational process looks like in the collaborative divorce setting

  • Let go of marital conflict dynamic
  • Develop healthy co-parenting relationship

The challenge of transitioning to a healthier place during a time of heightened anxiety

The balance between mining the emotional journey and reaching a respectful resolution

How to communicate your needs and interests effectively during the divorce process

What a successful post-divorce co-parenting relationship looks like

  • Demonstrate respect for each other
  • Seamlessly follow plan (e.g.: sit together at events)

Shireen’s advice around having patience and respect for your former spouse


Shireen’s Website

Call (201) 791-1560


International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Collaborative Divorce Association of New Jersey


The Center for Understanding Conflict

Miller Law Group

Katherine on LinkedIn

The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller

Email katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com

Call (914) 738-7765