What was the “ah-ha!” moment when you recognized the need for a different approach to the divorce process?
It was while talking with a friend over lunch about how divorce really sucks! Not only are you dealing with heartbreak but also with the dissolution of every aspect of your life. It is overwhelming to deal with all the change, and there is no class or course to prepare you for your marriage ending. Counseling is not always needed – but a support system is. That’s what has shaped my philosophy and approach to helping clients through the divorce process. There are women who have absolutely no support. They are judged by their families for not staying married, and sometimes their friends do not have the patience to see them through it. Attorneys should be there to listen to their clients’ concerns, give good advice, and give referrals to great professionals.
You formed Milton Family Law in 2011. What was your vision for your firm?
I opened Milton Family Law (with offices in Brookfield and Madison) with the vision of becoming a full-service family law firm focused on providing personable customer service to help women transition out of their marriages with hope and a plan. I’m happy to say that my vision remains our mission, so much in fact that we have a client-service specialist. No matter what’s going on at the firm, the specialist’s sole function is to work one-on-one with clients and help them through their concerns, providing prompt responses, referrals, and other assistance. I think of it as you’d rank a hotel’s customer service, so we work with a five-star rating in mind.
What do you do in your practice that other divorce lawyers don’t?
Any divorce practice helps clients end their marriages, but Milton Family Law helps them transition into positive futures. We help women discover their strengths, and the factors that increase their life satisfaction and happiness. I work with my clients to move beyond the immediate situation and to consider the implications of their choices, focus on their future livelihood and children, and make plans to succeed. We are focused on our clients’ future, instead of the immediate divorce transaction. That’s the difference.
Who is your typical client? What client’s story has most affected you?
Most of my clients tend to be professionals with children, and the women have accumulated wealth and debt during their marriage, and they want to ensure that their concerns are heard and addressed in the final agreement or at trial. My clients are all exceptional and have dealt with some pretty hard challenges – either personally or professionally. They are inspiring!
Latrice Milton owns Milton Family Law SC with offices in Brookfield and Madison.
I have one client who will always stand out in my mind because I was very concerned for her safety. I can’t be specific due to client confidentiality, but what I can share is that my client discovered something about her husband that was so severe, she was legally obligated to report it. Although the community was unaware of it, the family also had a history of domestic abuse, child abuse as well as illicit drug use. Law enforcement was able to get involved, as they too were concerned for her safety. With time passing, I’m happy to say that she has remained safe and is moving forward.
You also operate Milton Divorce Coaching. How did that come about?
I kept building my vision for Milton Family Law and knew that the support I wanted to offer women was not limited to legal representation. I had to find another way to help women through divorce, and knew that one way to do that was to create a support group for them to learn and relate about difficult issues involved in divorce. As if my path were being written in front of me, I attended a TEMPO Milwaukee Leadership Event that had a life coach as the speaker. I was so inspired and thought to myself, if I had similar skills, I could help women achieve their dreams and work through life’s challenges. So I decided to become a certified life coach and, shortly after, Milton Divorce Coaching began.
Tell me more about Milton Divorce Coaching.
First, my divorce clients are not my coaching clients. The women who hire me as their divorce attorney receive one-on-one coaching. Although we cover a wide variety of topics through Milton Divorce Coaching classes, we do not discuss legal matters nor provide legal advice, because the process is focused solely on their personal development.
We offer a six-week program (for a fee), entitled “How to Become the Heroine of Your Own Life,” for women who are divorcing, or are recently divorced, to help them focus on creating lives of abundance and happiness. The goal is to create subtle shifts in thinking and behavior to lead to a life of unlimited happiness.
What does the program cover? Do you lead the sessions yourself?
The program covers surviving grief and loss, learning self-love, creating financial abundance, transforming relationships, and reviving your health and wellness. I have built a large network of reputable professionals – local industry experts – who are aligned with my vision. I lead the classes, but as a part of the session, women break off into small groups and work on projects together. Different experts come based on the day’s focal topic, but during these group projects, the professionals provide one-on-one help to answer technical questions, and address and talk through clients’ concerns.
What does life coach certification permit you to do?
I was certified through the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and while I am recognized as a life coach I specialized in matters pertaining to divorce. The coach certification qualifies me to counsel clients on life’s decisions, help them realize their goals and what may be hindering their progress, and help guide them through their personal challenges to achieve their ultimate desire. There are several associations that offer certification, but I simply chose a program that worked for me and was approved by the ICF.
What advice would you give to an attorney thinking about opening her or his own practice?
In a nutshell, have a vision that you are passionate about, and be ready to hustle! Your vision will pull you through all of the start-up challenges.
What do you do when you’re not practicing law or coaching? How do you unwind?
I love to be spontaneous and try new things. I love Living Social and Groupon because you get daily reminders about new things to try around town – whether it’s a brewery tour, skydiving, or taking a painting class. Wisconsin is a great place to live!