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The role of a family consultant may not be something that people are familiar with or have considered might be able to assist them to resolve family disputes. Family Law Partners recognise the importance of introducing a family consultant to couples who have decided to separate or divorce as a way of preparing them for entering into effective family mediation.
Family consultant Kim Crewe and our Director of Client Wellbeing frequently works alongside our specialist team of mediators who assist couples to find a constructive, alternative way, to resolve disputes without using the traditional court method.
Below, Kim discusses her role as a family consultant and how it compliments family mediation by answering some questions;
A family consultant is a trained relationship therapist and/or coach who is there to help couples navigate their way through the process of separation and divorce. A family consultant will be able to provide both practical guidance and emotional support.
A family consultant may be educated to degree level and have a recognised professional qualification in at least one of the following disciplines; Counselling, Psychology, Social Work, Mediation, or Marriage and Family Therapy. I have a degree in Cultural Studies, a Diploma in Counselling and I am accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.
A family consultant can help a couple prepare for the mediation process, they will be given a safe confidential space in which to explore their ideas of how they see the arrangements for the future. The family consultant will support the couple in their communication skills and reduce misunderstandings to ensure the mediation process runs as smoothly as possible.
It can be very beneficial for the couple if the family consultant works alongside the mediator during the mediation sessions. They are able to bring their experience of working with children and young people to help the couple prioritise the needs of their children, they can also help to facilitate the conversation at times of tension.
All separating or divorcing couples would benefit from having somebody to help them work through the emotional side of separation and divorce. They may also work with a family consultant to help them create a new vision for the future.
The family consultant can see you individually or as a couple, they do not take sides, they will use their experience to support and guide you through the separation process. If the issues involve children a family consultant will help you make arrangements and reach agreements that are in the best interests of your children.
Often, using a family consultant will save you money, you are likely to be able to reduce the number of mediation sessions having done the earlier preparation. The number of meetings that you have with a family consultant is entirely up to you.
The family consultant can meet with a couple at any stage of the separation or divorce process. They will usually see the couple individually to begin with to find out their individual concerns and priorities and will then meet with them as a couple.
Depending on what the couple want to discuss there can be a number of meetings, which may resolve their issues or they can decide to go on to mediation or the collaborative process.
Family consultants help individuals and couples to: communicate more effectively, minimise conflict, compile a parenting plan, help parents adjust to their new co-parenting relationship, plan a new future, and introduce new partners.
Kim’s responses to the above questions demonstrate that a family consultant can really enhance the mediation process. A family consultant can be introduced at any point throughout the mediation journey to help couples navigate through blocks and deal with sensitive or emotional issues.
If you would like to find out more information about mediation or family consultants within the mediation process please contact a member of our expert mediation team.