For every two new marriages recorded in a given year, there is one divorce, according to Patheos.com. Florida also happens to be home to the divorce capital of America—Panama City. It’s a little known fact, but Florida contains three more top divorce cities with Palm Bay, Deltona and Jacksonville also making the cut. There is one South Florida women, however, hoping to make the transition back to single life smoother.
Divorce expert Debbie Martinez is working to help divorced women say “I do” to standing strong. Martinez is a Mindful Life Coach and Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator. She also worked as a behavior specialist in schools for several years before launching her own private practice in Miami. While she has many South Florida clients, she also has clients in areas as far as Virginia and Minnesota who she counsels over the phone. “I want my clients to feel empowered and be able to negotiate with a clear mind,” Martinez said.
Like most experts, Martinez honed her craft through experience. She became a life coach after her husband of 15 years decided he wanted a divorce. “After my divorce, my friend told me I should look into life coaching,” Martinez recalled. “I took a Mindful Life Coaching course in San Diego and it really changed my life. I’m a cheerleader now and voice of reason for my clients. I’m a Jiminy Cricket for you while you’re going through divorce.”
Keeping her clients in a positive state of mind is key. She also developed a “Moving On Box” which she sells for $49.95 on Standstrongwoman.com. The clever box contains 10 items including a mirror, compass, journal, tiara and other items to help a woman transition into her new life during and after a divorce. Martinez also includes a nut cracker in the package, which she jokes “Now where and on whom can I put this to good use?"
Although she encourages women to approach divorce with style, grace and humor, she doesn’t make light of how painful and draining the process can be.
“Divorce is one of the worst things a person can go through,” Martinez said. “Journaling is really important and everything is about moving forward. My clients get homework every week and I realize you have to look back a little to move forward. I see people after they’ve had a divorce and sometimes they’re stuck. I also work on post-divorce issues and I ask my clients ‘What’s your passion?’ ‘What makes your heart sing?’”
Martinez, who also contributes a divorce advice column to The Huffington Post and is a travel editor for Miami Community Newspapers, started the Stand Strong Foundation to help women who need her services but her are struggling with financial hardships. “Divorce can often bring you to a dark place where you can’t even imagine how your life is going to be, especially with children,” Martinez said. “I didn’t want to turn these women away.”
Outside the office, the devoted mother of two is working on a book and hopes to arrange inspiring workshops in the Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale areas in 2014. “Divorce is the end of a chapter in your life, not the end of your life. Focus on your north star and never lose hope.”
For more on Martinez, visit Thepowerofdivorcecoach.com.