Family Consultants are highly experienced counsellors, coaches or mediators who work with individuals, couples and their families helping them to negotiate their way through divorce or separation and other family disputes. I work as part of an interdisciplinary team of professionals, which includes other family consultants, mediators, lawyers, financial experts and child specialists. When a couple enter the divorce process together, actively seeking the best approach for them and their family, further deterioration of the relationship can be prevented to everyone’s benefit, most importantly children’s. My aim is to place control firmly in your hands, with support from us, as and when you need it.
Family Consultancy or Divorce Coaching is a suitable intervention that can be used at any point during divorce or separation, even post adjudication. I can assist at any point during family change whether you are working together in mediation, with solicitors negotiating on your behalf or perhaps in the middle of court proceedings.
Every client that steps across our threshold is different – there is no formulaic approach that I use with our clients. My job is to assess very carefully at the start of the process and to determine with clients, what approach is going to be most beneficial as it is vital that the right people work on the right problem at the right time. Whilst the balance will be different for each individual client, most need a combination of legal, emotional and financial advice or support if they are to achieve the best possible outcome. My team approach ensures that you get the most out of each professional minimising cost and emotional energy. The really good thing is that it can work as a flexible, creative pathway. Sometimes a session with another professional, the better prospect there is of a successful outcome – this could be with neutral counsel, an independent financial advisor or a child therapist.
How does it work?
Family Consultancy is a brief intervention, which supports clients prior, during and post the divorce or separation process. If you think about coaching and how it works to help people facilitate change in their personal or professional lives, you will get an idea of how Family Consultancy works. Family relationships change, they don’t break down – this process supports you through that change, helping you to:
- Identify and prioritise your concerns and work towards resolving them on both a practical and an emotional level
- Help you manage your emotions, concerns and needs and find ways of coping with the impact of separation
- Minimise conflict, improve communication and reduce misunderstandings
- Create arrangements and agreements that are in the best interests of the children
- Develop a workable parenting plan and enhance your ability to co-parent, now and in the future
- Adjust to the changes in key relationships and seek to look forward to the future
- Prepare for and be supported through alternative divorce processes e.g. arbitration or adjudicated cases
Family Consultancy/Divorce Coaching is similar to, but less formal than mediation – however, you might still reach agreements. It provides the space and time to talk things through – these might be practical or emotional issues or about the children.
The starting point is for us to have an initial discussion – either over the phone or in person when you can tell me what I need to know, what you need to feel comfortable and for me to give you information. Or you can go ahead and return the FC Client Information Form. My job is also to decide if I think it will be more helpful for me to meet with you as an individual or to work with you and your (ex) partner. If you and your ex want to work together, it’s usually very helpful to involve two family consultants although sometimes it’s possible for me to work with you alone. The process is flexible – some people find that a couple of sessions are enough; others may choose to meet throughout the divorce or separation process.
As part of best practice, I will always hold in mind when the best time is to involve other professionals. You may already have your own lawyer or financial adviser, but if not, I am able to manage your case by bringing in lawyers, mediators or financial specialists from a network of professionals with whom I have well-established working relationships throughout East Anglia and London.
“Mutual parenting means that whatever else is or is not going on in your relationship with each other – today, this month or next year – you are jointly committed to putting your children’s wellbeing and happiness first and to protecting them as far as you can from ill-effects following your separation. The most important word in that sentence is ‘jointly’.” Penelope Leach, Family Breakdown