How Counselling and Legal Support Work Hand-in-Hand in Separation

In this article, we’re exploring how counselling and legal support services work hand in hand during a separation. (Guest post) 

A divorce or separation is rarely simple and separation agreement solicitors are among those calling for more comprehensive support networks for those who find themselves struggling to cope during this difficult time.

an image of many hands linked together in support.

During a separation it’s important to equip yourself with the right legal and emotional support. In this article, we’re looking at how counselling and legal support work hand in hand in separation cases.

Counselling and Legal Support Professionals for Separation

When going through a separation or divorce, you may find yourself in need of both legal and emotional support and may seek the services of:

Family law solicitors

When a couple decides to divorce or separate, this will usually involve legal representation. Even if the couple is not married, there may be children to make decisions for.

A family law solicitor will usually be called upon to handle divorce proceedings and to ensure that the distribution of assets is fair. If the divorce or separation is particularly acrimonious, the family law solicitor might also be required to represent your interests in the family court. This is fairly common when a dispute regarding child custody or child support cannot be resolved between the two parties.

A family law solicitor might also arrange for mediation for the couple if necessary. Mediation involves the couple meeting with – either individually or together – an unbiased third party who will help them to try to come to an amicable end.

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Sometimes referred to as a therapist, a counsellor is a professional person who is trained and qualified in helping people work through emotional problems, sometimes including mental health issues.

While sessions were traditionally held face to face, in 2024 many counselling sessions will take place by telephone, video call or even by online messaging.

The number of counselling sessions you will need depends on the severity of your issues and this will be discussed between yourself and your counsellor. Counselling can be an extremely useful tool for helping you to work through the many emotions that you will be dealing with during your separation.

Collaboration Between Solicitors and Counsellors

While some people find that they only need legal support during their separation, many more are not so lucky, and a considerable number of these people feel that finding both a solicitor and a counsellor – and finding time to see both – can be tricky and can sometimes add to their stress levels.

For this reason, professionals believe that the way forward is for family law firms and counsellors to work together to provide the best possible support for their clients. This could work in a number of ways, including:

  • Informal partnerships – Solicitors and counsellors are trained to recognise the signs that somebody is struggling and to make instant referrals.
  • Formal partnerships – Family law firms could actually employ in-house counsellors in order to make the process as seamless and stress-free for their clients as possible.
  • Networks – In the age of advanced technology, it would be relatively easy for legal and counselling professionals to form networks in order to facilitate connections for their clients.

How Would a Collaboration Improve Clients’ Mental Health?

In the past, the British legal system tended to suffer a reputation for being formal, old fashioned and, quite frankly, unsympathetic.

While times are very much changing, many solicitors are extremely overworked, and many have little time to provide the emotional support to their clients that they would like to.

In 2024, we are becoming more and more aware of the need to protect our mental health, and modern solicitors are now only too aware of the emotional turmoil that many of their clients are suffering due to their separation or divorce and are extremely keen to address these.

By collaborating with counselling services, family law solicitors can ensure that their clients’ emotional needs are being addressed while being allowed to focus themselves on the often-complex legal work ahead of them. As we’ve mentioned earlier, this needn’t necessarily be a formal arrangement but one which can work through networking and recommendations.

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Collaborative approaches to separation support…

A divorce or separation usually brings with it a huge number of changes including new accommodation, altered finances and, in some cases, new schools and childcare arrangements. It’s little wonder then that many people find themselves unable to cope during this transition.

While most people realise that it’s essential that they find legal support, it’s equally important to find emotional support too. By working more closely together, legal services and counselling services can help to bridge this gap and to ensure that clients are fully supported at a time when they need it the very most.

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About the author

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).