Wilton resident and certified divorce coach Lisa Williams has transformed her personal hardship into a professional and established business ready to serve the Wilton community and beyond. On Tuesday, June 4, Williams will be part of a three-person seminar at the Wilton Library that will discuss a variety of topics on the financial and legal aspects of divorce.
Having navigated her nearly two-year divorce proceedings herself, albeit with the emotional support of family and friends, Williams realized, “It would have been helpful to have someone objective and versed in the divorce process.” Once her divorce was finalized, she became a sounding board for friends and acquaintances contemplating their own divorces and eventually fielded calls from people she did not know personally.
Williams found herself in a position to become the objective and well-versed expert she wished she had had the benefit of working with during her own divorce and in the summer of 2017 decided to pursue divorce coaching professionally. She simultaneously opened Lisa Williams Consulting, LLC when she registered for the online CDC Certified Divorce Coach. In less than a year, Williams completed the program and had her first client.
“The universal challenges in divorce are that the process is very emotional and overwhelming. People find themselves in a landscape they have no experience in and during a very stressful time. It is a complicated process and is often long. People are trying to juggle this foreign and uncomfortable place with jobs, kids, etc.,” she explains.
The American Bar Association describes divorce coaching as “a flexible, goal-oriented process designed to support, motivate and guide people going through divorce to help them make the best possible decisions for their future, based on their particular interests, needs, and concerns.”
Williams’ consulting business covers a broad range of clients needs throughout the various stages of the divorce process. Though the majority of her clients are women, Williams has had male clients, and clients as far as Minnesota.
“I have some folks that contact me who are just thinking about divorce and want to know about the process. Others contact me farther down the process as a sanity check or to help set priorities.”
A critical part of Williams’ work is to craft questions for clients’ meeting with their lawyers, therapist, financial advisor and or real estate agents to ensure meetings are both efficient and effective.
“While some of these questions are universal, I work with the client to understand their particular needs and wants.”
Williams has also accompanied clients to these meetings as an extra set of ears and to guide her clients to the necessary information in the hopes of minimizing stress and maximizing productivity and getting the best possible outcome.
“I do not give legal or financial advice. However, I can take notes and ask questions on the spot about many of the topics that are discussed.”
Navigating the specific changes in the divorce process is an ongoing challenge. Williams cites new tax and alimony laws that went into effect Jan. 1, 2019 as the most demoralizing. Under the new law, the spouse paying alimony will find the amount to be ineligible for a tax deduction. The receiving spouse will not have to pay tax on the alimony, and although this appears to be beneficial to the receiving spouse, in the long term it will be detrimental to both spouses because the total amount available will decrease. This change is also expected to complicate child support agreements.
“I find this law very disheartening because 50% of marriages end in divorce and this change in alimony only makes the process more difficult.”
Despite the difficulty, Williams finds her work rewarding. “I can see clearly that I reduce the stress of the divorce process. I can hear it in my clients’ voices and see it in their demeanor. I bring some relief to a process that is riddled with doubt, stress and a steep learning curve.”
She is also quick to point out that there are many resources for people going through divorce. In addition to family and friends, there are numerous support groups, nonprofits, and professionals to explore. For Williams, the strong and deep connections she has in the Wilton community made a tremendous difference.
“There is definitely a transition period. As with many good things in life, it takes some effort and planning to move forward. But the rewards after divorce are certainly available in any number of ways. Peace of mind is so very valuable. And attitude is everything!”