Carron Nicks, MS, JD, CDC Certified Divorce Coach®
My story . . . so far.
25 years a lawyer and a wife
For more than 25 years, I made my living practicing consumer bankruptcy law. I worked with many couples whose relationships suffered under severe financial stress. Some of those couples found that their trials had strengthened their relationships. Many marriages, however, did not survive.
Much of that time, I was married to my law partner. We met in law school, married the day before graduation and, like many couples, spent the ensuing years raising two fantastic children and building careers.
After a number of years, I stepped away from the practice to take care of some health issues. My husband formed a new firm with friends.
alone and broke
As bankruptcy attorneys, we worked with people who had few resources, so we never made a lot of money. We had put little effort into financial planning because we never expected to retire. Then, the last thing I could have imagined came to pass. After 25 years, my marriage fell apart. It happened quickly, and it was devastating.
I found myself alone and broke. In the course of less than a year, I had become an empty-nester, my husband abruptly left his law firm (to become a truck driver) and filed for divorce, I lost my livelihood and had to sell my home of 20 years. I even had to give away my pets. I was unemployed and virtually penniless. Even as I suffered the emotional roller coaster of divorce, I had to find a way to support myself, and manage chronic health issues.
I stumbled a lot along the way trying to figure out the best course. Should I get a job working for someone else? (I turned 60 three days after the divorce became final.) Should I start another law practice even though it could be months or even years before I would make enough money to pay my rent? Should I consider some sort of related field or chuck it altogether and start anew in a completely different career?
I sent out more than 350 resumes and applications over a year and scored two interviews, one of which led to a part-time job that lasted six months.
In the meantime, I went on food stamps, visited food pantries, asked relatives for financial help, qualified for a federal senior housing subsidy, shopped at thrift stores, and sought medical care at indigent clinics. I became intimately familiar with every form of social service available. One of lowest points came when I sought help to pay my rent from an agency established by a group of churches. I was turned down because I had a law degree, was one of the "privileged," and had too much credit card debt.
I did not relish the thought of re-starting a failed job search. Instead, I recognized that I had the potential to totally re-invent myself, but I was at a loss to figure out what that would look like.
From Day One I had sought out counseling. My counselor was a wonderful woman who very much helped me survive those first months. Her focus was on managing emotions and coming to terms with the "why" of divorce. I loved her and what she did for me, but all the while as I worked on the "why," I struggled to get a fix on where I wanted to go. I actually thought, "I wish there were someone like a life coach who works with people going through divorce."
As I searched for a livelihood, a good friend who is a coach working with adult college students, suggested that I would be a good coach myself. And wouldn't you know it, I discovered that there are indeed divorce coaches. Almost immediately I decided that I would devote myself to helping people like me, and like you, find a new place in the world.