New divorce directory helps couples to separate collaboratively

Image: Tavistock Relationships

Tavistock Relationships, the internationally renowned couple therapy charity, has published a new ‘Working Together Divorce & Separation Directory’, listing specialist organisations offering impartial support for couples who want to divorce collaboratively.

The new directory is being launched ahead of the new no fault divorce legislation coming into force from 6 April 2022, enabling couples to divorce without the need to cite blame.

Andrew Balfour, CEO of Tavistock Relationships, explains:

“Couple conflict is damaging to both parents and their children. Too many separating couples are ending up locked in conflict and turning to the family courts, because they can’t agree financial and childcare arrangements.

“Many couples want to work together, but are often set up from the start on a fractured and adversarial route, working against each other, rather than together towards a common goal. For most people, divorce is one of the most emotionally challenging experiences of their lives, with huge conflict and loss for everyone involved.  The new ‘No Fault’ divorce legislation gives us the opportunity to establish new ways of approaching this by reducing the conflict between divorcing partners as much as possible, rather than fuelling it, as the current fault-based system does.

“There are a range of organisations offering impartial separation and divorce support, to help couples to separate together, offering a less adversarial route to securing a settlement.  But there’s a lack of information about these services.  Our new ‘Working Together Divorce & Separation Directory’ aims to help separating couples find the help they need to manage the challenging process of divorce better, and help them to sustain a collaborative parenting relationship for the benefit of their children.”

When seeking help to separate or divorce, couples are generally funnelled down two routes: to separate solicitors for legal advice; or to a shared mediator who is unable to give them legal advice. In cases where there are no safeguarding concerns, it is not generally in the best interests of children for their parents to seek recourse to the family court to address what are essentially emotional and relationship issues, rather than primarily legal ones.

Andrew Balfour, CEO of Tavistock Relationships, adds:

“There are many specialist organisations which offer impartial support to couples to work together through divorce. For instance, couples can access joint co-parenting support, separation counselling, joint legal advice from a lawyer they share, joint financial advice, joint actuarial advice and emotional and professional psychological help. Some of these services will require payment, while others can be accessed for free.

“Many couples, at the point of separation, are completely unaware these services exist. Our new Directory sign-posts couples towards services which encourage separating couples to view divorce as a joint endeavour, seeking the fairest outcome for their family as a whole, and to seek a settlement without the need to go to court.

“A ‘good divorce’ with constructive outcomes for the children, as well as the adults themselves, is not a myth.  I have witnessed this many times in my clinical work.  However, sadly, all too often the opposite is the case: and the divorce is simply a legal punctuation point in an ongoing, destructive and acrimonious battle in which the adult partners, and their children, remain trapped for years.”

To access Tavistock Relationships’ Working Together Divorce & Separation Directory (London), go to