It’s that time of year, when bakeries, florists and jewelers are busy — in the approach to Valentine’s Day.
It can be a time of love, affection and euphoria — but also can be a painful trigger for those struggling through the turmoil of divorce.
For one Wesley Chapel woman, it’s a time when existing or new clients may feel a particular need to turn to her for support.
Hayley Lisa Botha, of Emerge Strong Divorce Coaching, helps people take control of their divorce process.
Divorce is more than a legal process, said Botha, who goes by Hayley Lisa to her clients and friends. It’s a transition — affecting relationships within a family, finances and living arrangements — while taking a toll on emotions.
And, that emotional toll can compromise decision-making, Hayley Lisa said.
That’s why she thinks it’s important to enlist the aid of someone who has been trained to help people going through a divorce, to get from where they are to where they want to be.
“A divorce coach can give you unbiased advice,” said Hayley Lisa, who knows the challenges firsthand.
She’s been divorced twice.
She’s familiar with the turmoil it can cause, and the swirl of emotions that can take over.
“You’re going to be a train-wreck,” she said.
When confronted by divorce, many have no idea what to do, or where to turn for help, she said.
“That’s why I love to help people sort through all of the emotions they are feeling, and just gain some clarity, so they can be in a better position,” she said. “I truly believe it (divorce) can be done with integrity and with maturity.”
She sees her role as being a sounding board, and serving as a guide to help clients build a network of professionals to assist them.
When someone approaches her for help, the first thing Hayley Lisa wants to know is where they are in the process: Are they thinking about divorce, or is the marriage really over?
“Make sure the marriage is really over before taking steps to get divorced because once you do that — everything seems to change and sometimes you can’t go back,” she said.
She doesn’t advise people on whether to pursue a divorce, but once that decision has been made, she works with clients to tackle the practical and emotional challenges.
Knowing your financial status is essential, she said.
“Some people think that they’re OK, until they run a credit score and they realize ‘Oh boy, I’m not even going to be able to get a credit card in my own name,’” she said.
It’s important to choose an attorney, too. She recommends consulting with at least two before selecting one.
“You have to know that attorney is with you and that your values will align. Maybe you want to go through the mediation process. Maybe you want to go collaborative law,” she said. Or, in some cases, litigation is needed.
“If you start this process with an attorney who’s not going to have your best interests at heart, then you’re going to be in a world of trouble,” she said.
Hayley Lisa said she listens to her clients without passing judgment.
“I become their thinking partner in the divorce process. I help them build what’s now going to be their new normal,” she said.
That new normal often involves co-parenting, which can be particularly challenging, she said.
This can be an area where ex-spouses push each other’s buttons, she said. Resist the temptation and take the high road, she advised.
“You’re going to have to sometimes swallow your pride and your ego, and do what’s best for your children,” she said.
She offers clients help with co-parenting issues. “That is such a whole new arena for most people,” she said.
It’s also important to be careful who you listen to, Hayley Lisa said.
While family and friends care about you, they aren’t unbiased, and typically aren’t qualified to give expert advice, she said.
She offers a free consultation to potential clients, and in addition to offering her services on a sliding scale, she also runs a free divorce support group. There are three upcoming support group sessions planned at the Land O’ Lakes Branch Library on Collier Parkway.
“It’s just a safe environment where people can share with others, who might be further along in the process, or just beginning,” she said, describing the support group.
“When you are going through a divorce, there’s so much shame that people feel. They feel stigmatized. In the support group, there’s no judgment. We’ve all been there.”
Want to know more?
Call Hayley Lisa Botha at (561) 339-3711; check the website at EmergeStrongDivorceCoaching.com; or, email her at .
Hayley’s 10 commandments
No. 1: Make sure the marriage is really over.
No. 2: Get a divorce coach or therapist.
No. 3: Become informed and take control of your divorce process. If you aren’t already aware of your financial state, find out. Gather financial statements, run a credit check.
No. 4: Put your kids first. Do what’s best for the kids, even if it hurts you.
No. 5: Get good legal advice and build a team of professionals.
No. 6: Do not speak negatively about your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
No. 7: Be careful who you listen to. Your family and your friends love you, but they’re not unbiased and they’re not divorce experts, either.
No. 8: Don’t use your lawyer as your divorce coach or therapist. Lawyers are trained in law, not emotions.
No. 9: Be kind to yourself. Divorce is tough enough, don’t make it worse by letting go of your health.
No. 10: Don’t fight it out at all costs. Don’t insist on getting every last penny you feel you are due, do what you can to settle your case amicably. Your children will thank you.
Source: Hayley Lisa Botha, Emerge Strong Divorce Coaching Services
Free divorce support groups
Emerge Strong Divorce Coaching offers free divorce support groups for men and women who would like some support and guidance, while going through this difficult and often overwhelming time. Sessions will be at the Land O’Lakes Branch Library meeting room, 2818 Collier Parkway.
The February schedule is as follows:
- Feb. 15: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Feb. 18: 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Feb. 29: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information on the support groups, call (561) 339-3711, or visit Facebook.com/EmergeStrongDivorceCoaching.
Published February 05, 2020