When people are dealing with difficult experiences, such as separation and divorce, it is often difficult to know how to best help your children and yourself. Family consultancy or coaching is a way in which you can take time to consider what is happening to you; how the situation is affecting your children; and how best to manage a major life transition which will affect not only you, but if you are parents, your child(ren) as well.

Family consultants can help you individually or together work out the emotional and practical issues around separating and a divorce, such as information gathering required for financial disclosure, or how to tell the children you are separating. Family consultants can also help give out information (sign posting) to enable you to obtain more specific help or longer term support should you need it.

Family consultants can help you form a new (parenting) relationship with your partner which endures and enables you to both parent your children after your separation/divorce. Family consultants can also help you both work on some ground rules to enable you to communicate effectively for the future.

Family consultancy provides short term guidance and support through a time of family transition. Family consultants can be used in mediation and collaborative processes to prepare the client to participate effectively within the process (mediation and/or collaborative). The family consultant does not act as a therapist but uses his or her expertise and experience to assist the client in managing emotional or psychological issues that might otherwise impair the client’s effective functioning and/or participation in the process. The family consultant will also communicate with others involved in the process, in particular, collaborative to provide insight and assistance in helping to facilitate the process.

Family consultants must be educated to degree level and have recognised professional qualifications; belong to a relevant regulatory organisation; have 3 years post qualification experience related to “couples and family work”; and have undergone additional training. Family consultants who work directly with children and young people must provide documentation to demonstrate current enhanced level police clearance.

Sarah Mellish

Solicitor Collaborative Family Lawyer and Mediator
Professional Practice Consultant
Harney & Wells