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Karen Morley

For 10 years many lawyers and mediators have been referring their clients to me for emotional and behavioural support and help though the stress of separation and divorce and the many issues that this brings.


I have helped in various ways, enabling clients to make firm decisions, to have the strength and confidence to travel through the process, to build communication and understanding channels, and helping them to help their children.


Lately I have also been part of the new wave to bring more flexible processes to help clients, such as 5 way meetings, improving communication skills in mediation, parenting plans and the intake (MELCA like) form of collaborative divorce.

Collaborative Divorce


Family Consultant/Coach


The collaborative process is designed to be one of the divorce option that brings the best solution to both parties. This collaboration often greatly benefits from the assistance of independant neutrals to the process such as family consultants and IFAs. Independant neutrals can be included in the meeting to which they bring many benefits, also before, during and after the divorce.


Better Life Coaching works closely with collaborative PODs across the South and receives client referrals from many law practices.


Role of the Family Consultant


The way a couple approach separation and divorce and the way they go though the divorce itself creates the dynamics of their future relationship. It is important to move forward with the best relationship and the least amount of personal damage and this is of course especially important when children are involved. The use of a family consultant before, during and after the divorce will help ensure just that, building the best co-parenting relationship and the best future relationship for yourselves.


Family consultants can also be used to build parenting plans.


Here are the ways the family consultant adds to the collaborative process:


  • Help the clients to identify what is most important to them, create goals and prioritise their concerns

  • Work as a neutral whereby support is offered to both parties

  • Facilitate communication in the meeting

  • Strengthen the clients’ communication skills

  • Help the clients’ communicate their needs

  • Diminish misunderstanding of intentions and meanings

  • Identity and help with any issues between clients that may cause difficulties to the effectiveness of the process

  • Identify and help with any issues that might otherwise impair the clients effective functioning and participation in the meeting

  • Make the lawyers aware of any potential stumbling blocks to the process

  • Help free clients from entrenched positions and to move forward to find agreement and compromise

  • Work for a resolution which meets everyone’s needs – both clients and their family

  • Supporting clients to develop co-parenting skills and strategies

  • Be the voice of the children during the meeting

  • Facilitate an efficient, open and emotionally healthy meeting

  • Work collaboratively with all involved to provide insight and assistance in helping facilitate the process

  • Free the lawyers up to concentrate on their role thereby increasing the efficiency of each professional in the process

  • Dissolve any potential opposition between members of the meeting

  • Coaching can increase the likelihood of achieving a successful collaborative outcome


This is the comment from a Southampton Lawyer relating to Karen, working as the Family Consultant, being included and chairing a Fiveway meeting:


'There was proper team work at play - the support that you gave to the four of us made for a much better way of working.  It really did feel different to normal Collab.


I truly believe that many divorcing couples would benefit from this model.  They benefit from being (not just feeling) supported; emotional damage for them would be mitigated, the children would suffer less, they would avoid delay.'


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