The role of the Family Consultant


Authored by Karen Morley

A family consultant is a professional with a background in understanding the workings of the human mind who can therefore help each client to manage their own emotions and decision-making. They work alongside lawyers and financial advisers to help divorcing clients reach the most advantageous and healthy settlement solutions for themselves and their children.

At HFLS we recognise that going through separation and divorce causes a variety of emotions including grief, anger, a feeling of loss and often a feeling of loss of control. As a team we include the help and assistance of a family adviser who can support and coach clients through all these areas.

The reason why family advisers have such a vital role to play is that divorce is largely a emotive event, and often a very distressing and disturbing one. A family adviser has the understanding, coaching and communication skills to help guide clients through what can often be an emotional minefield. We can also provide guidance on childcare through this critical transition, helping clients work together to build a parenting plan.

A family consultant can meet directly with children to prevent them being damaged by the process and also help those who may be already struggling, to help them individually and also to see the family together.

This behavioural and emotional guidance and support is especially important at a time when so many long-term legal, practical and financial decisions also have to be made. Lawyers are in a much better position to help you do this if a family adviser is supporting the difficult feelings you’re having.

The family consultant can be involved in the first meeting – intake meeting- seeing each client individually and then together, enabling you to help with any stumbling blocks or entrenched beliefs and behaviours that may hamper the process. At this point they can also help to redress any misunderstandings that may exist between the parties.

The family consultant can also be present to help at a 5 way meeting, that is, with both clients and their lawyers, so they can help with any emotional or behavioural issues that arise during the meeting and assist with decisions relating to the children.

Help is also offered outside of the process itself to further advance your ability to work through this whole process in the most effective and least damaging way possible. This help offered outside the meeting will always be with the knowledge and permission of both parties.

One of the most important areas where a family consultant can be of help is to aid parents to help their children. This may cover many areas such as building a parenting plan, how to explain and talk to their children about the divorce and how to mutually support their children through the process and into their future.