Working with a Family Consultant – How can they help?

Tamsin talks to Family Consultant and Relationship Therapist, Kim Crewe. They discuss how Kim helps couples who are separating, divorcing and onwards. Kim helps not only with moving couples through the process amicably but also helps them to move into a coparenting relationship.

Kim Crewe is an experienced Relationship Therapist, Divorce Coach and Family Consultant who specialises in working with individuals and couples going through separation and divorce. She is an accredited member of the British Associate of Counselling and Psychotherapy, a member of the Association of Coaching and an affiliate member of Resolution.

She can be found at

Twitter @kimcrewe

Insta kimcrewecoach


Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.

You can contact Tamsin at or arrange a free initial meeting using She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK

Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd



(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)

Tamsin Caine 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. In series four, we're going to be talking to various different professionals and others who have gone through divorce, and dissolution of the civil partnership to talk about the future, and how you can start helping things to look much more positively. And we have some fantastic guests lined up. But if there is anything specific that you would like us to cover, please do get in touch. You can contact me through our website, www dot smart And I look forward to hearing from you soon. Enjoy.

Hello, and welcome to this Smart Divorce Podcast. I am delighted to be joined today by Kim Crewe. Kim, how are you doing?

Kim Crewe 1:04
Really well, thank you really pleased to be here.

We're absolutely delighted to have you with us because you are one of those Scarlet Pimpernels that are family consultants. So let me formally introduce you before we get chatting. So Kim is an experienced relationship therapist who specialises in working with individuals and couples going through separation and divorce. She trained as a family consultant with resolution and there were not a huge number of you about which is why I said she has a Scarlet Pimpernel. So if you find it, Kim, you need to keep a hold of her. And Resolution is an organisation of lawyers and other divorce professionals who are committed to a non confrontational and constructive approach to resolving family issues. So they try and keep people out of big fights in court. And Kim is based down in Sussex. So we are opposite ends of the of the country and Kim's talk to me sometimes about walking on beaches and things which is being based in South Manchester, not something we get to do very often. So I'm really looking forward to talking to Kim today about her work. And so let's let's get straight on with the big question, which I think is always the biggest question. So. So I've just found out I've separating, so either it's a decision I've taken, or it's the decision my spouse has taken, or it's one that we've taken together. Is this, is this the right time to come and see you straightaway? Or should we be waiting a little while?

Hi. So I think to come along and see me very early on on in the process is a really good good in terms of timing. Because I think if if we can work together to begin to think of how to plan the separation, how to tell the children, what to tell the children, if you have children, right at the beginning is really important, because I think things can begin to escalate really quickly. And so what I would do is I would have an Indian individual meeting with each of the cup, or just to find out a little bit more about what what brings them here how they've got to the decision to separate and often we find that they might not be on the same page that you know, one of them might be much further ahead in the process than the other one. And if I'm going to work with them, it's really important for me to understand from them individually, where they are on that on that journey, so that I can help the one perhaps that's further behind to, to catch up and to, to so that they're more on the same page to begin to begin the process.

Tamsin Caine 3:55
Yeah, that's really important, isn't it? And you quite often do find that couples at the beginning.poles the pie in terms of emotionally where they are, don't you?

Kim Crewe 4:07
Yeah. And I think I think that people often think that the one who's made the decision to separate is kind of generally more okay with it, but actually often they're in as much as a turmoil is the person that's, that's further behind. I think people often kind of feel much more empathy for the person that's being left than the person that's doing the leaving, but in my experience, they can be very, really very quite distressed and worried and, you know, it's often not a clear cut decision.

Tamsin Caine 4:41
Yeah, I think you're absolutely right in that and I have certainly come across situations where in sometimes the guilt and so on is eating away at the person who's made that decision. And, and, and that can be as big an impact as as having the decision done to you, if you like, I think so. Yeah, I have them, I have sympathy with with both parties on that. So you, you work with couples and individuals, and you've talked a bit about, you would speak to each individual first so that you making decisions, you don't do everything together. It's not all necessarily all in one room.

Kim Crewe 5:26
Not Not necessarily. Generally, it's, I start off with the couple individually, but I'm quite keen to, to help them come together as soon as as soon as possible or appropriate, because actually the conversations particularly if they have children, that they need to have all our joint conversations, and I suppose what I'm keen to do is trying to, to help to keep their communication healthy. Because you know, often as as we we know, that, um, communication can get very strained and sensitive. And if they have a safe space with with me to talk about what's what's worrying them, help them make plans and begin to visualise a different future and be able to speak to one another about that kind of helps to keep it much, much healthier. So I try to bring them together as soon as possible. And also, then that gives me an opportunity to explain the different options for them for going forward. You know, there are many, many cuts, right,

Tamsin Caine 6:37
Almost like you knew what I was going to say. So gone, how how that obviously, we know, couples have have got various options, versus our podcast, anyone who hasn't already listened to it does cover each of the different options, but but just briefly, what are the options available? And how do you help in each of those different scenarios?

Kim Crewe 7:03
Yeah, well, I guess the kind of the first option is the do it themselves option, which I guess I don't tend to see those couples. So so often, it's more than couples that want some support in going through the process. So the main, the main options that I get involved in are the mediation and the collaborative process. So with with mediation, I helped to prepare the couple to to go then to a mediator who will help sort out their finances. So with me, they might do the, the parenting plan. And the The other option is the collaborative process that a lot of people don't know very much about. And I would be really keen for your your audience to to understand a bit more about the collaborative process.

We've talked about this before, but I'm absolutely with you is that it's definitely something worth revisiting. We had a wonderful lady, who also who's called Kimberly actually joined us from the US and a few months ago, and she is a collaborative lawyer in the US and they seem so much more further on in terms of using the collaborative process for family law for divorce much more of them. We are in the UK, I think we're our sort of pockets where it's used quite a lot, but but it doesn't seem to be something that's become very mainstream. But as an outsider looking in I don't know how you feel about this as well. But as an outsider looking in collaborative, dealing with divorce collaboratively, seems like an absolute no brainer.

Absolutely. Yeah.

Tamsin Caine 8:52
Before we get we ramble on anymore, because we know what we're talking about, and it feels like we ought to do you want to just explain what cognitive processes

Kim Crewe 9:01
Yeah, no, I'd love to explain what it is I feel quite quite passionately about it and I'm in luckily I work in an area where it's very kind of the the lawyers locally very proactive, but just to say a little bit about what it what it is, it's where the the couple and their solicitors or lawyers meet together in a in a room to sit down and work out and find the solutions themselves as a as a for or perhaps we'll include a family consultant like myself to find the solutions. So rather than letters going backwards and forwards between solicitors or phone calls, there's a real opportunity to sit down in the room together all too to find, find the solution that's going to be right for that capital for that family and hold the children in the forefront of the decision making process, yeah, it were quite, quite often a family, financial neutral, get involved in the collaborative process as well. So if there's financial support needed in terms of figuring out some of the more complex financial issues, they can also join in, but not be there as a as a provider of information. Yeah, I think I think that is really, really important. And I think what the couples that I've worked with, who've gone through the collaborative process, so what they'll they'll do is they'll do the preparation work was with me, and we, we discussed, you know, what are their hopes? What are they most worried about? What what's going to be important for their children? How do they see their their life in six months, 18 months, a year's time? And so we've done a lot of that preparation, work to understand Yeah, what's really important for the, for the couple, and I can also help them appoint a lawyer to work alongside them who, who I know will be committed to a collaborative way of working, because that's another real really critical point of this, this process is that both of the couple have, have a solicitor lawyer who, who is committed to collaborative thinking and working together, and ideally, the two lawyers will have experience of working to together and so therefore, that's, you know, it makes a huge, huge difference to, to the to how it unfolds.

Tamsin Caine 11:44
Absolutely, I mean, the the lawyers that you choose in this situation is absolutely vital. You really do need to be working together and on the same page together, not going off and choosing your own lawyers independently because that getting the right team of people around both of you is that is absolutely vital. And I know that a lot of people listening may be thinking Crikey, all these people being involved, we've got a family consultant, we've got two lawyers, we've possibly got financial neutral. Surely this is a hugely expensive process. Do you have any experience in terms of what that looks like?

Kim Crewe 12:29
Yeah, I think I think you're, you know, flagging up a really important concern, because I think people do generally think more got more people more money. But in in my experience, what it can do is it can actually cut down the number of meetings of the collaborative meetings by having, as you say, a financial person or myself or pension person coming into the process. Because if, you know, often these, these meetings can get a bit heated and a bit difficult at times. And if then the couple can do with work with me outside the collaborative meeting in support of the process, then actually, we can we can iron out things in a, in a space with me, me, which is actually kind of, I guess, more cost effective in that way, if we're talking about the children, or sometimes there can be quite emotional issues connected to things like inheritance, and kind of, you know, that, that aren't necessarily legal, but much more emotional issues. So if we talk about them in my space, actually, it can save the couple of money rather than costing more money in the whole scheme of things.

Tamsin Caine 13:41
Yeah, absolutely. My, my feeling is that it's a lower cost solution than going through the courts and a much friendlier solution. And I also think that unlike mediation, you do have the benefit of having somebody there who's on your side. And sometimes that's really important to have somebody that's not you, that's not emotionally involved, but that is still fighting your corner, but trying to come to a resolution without without the need for court and so on.

Kim Crewe 14:17
I think again, that's a really important point, because I think it's really helpful when the the other part of the couple can hear the legal advice that is given. And I think that makes a real a real difference. Because actually, you know, often the collaborative lawyers, okay, they will have, they will have their client as it were, but actually, we were all sitting there working in the interest of the couple and of the family, even though as I say the lawyers you know, have their have their kind of client or the client has their lawyer along alongside them. But also another important point I think to make is that the couple have some control. All over the timing of the process, that actually, you know, if they want this to move through quickly, we can have the meetings quite regularly, or sometimes they prefer to have them spaced out, you know, they are the drivers of the process. And very unlike the the court process, so

Tamsin Caine 15:17
That's interesting that you say that I my experiences that lots of people who are going through Separation, Divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, we shouldn't forget that side of things as well. And my experiences, there seems to be a huge rush, it's almost like, we need to get to the finish line as quickly as possible and just get it done. Sometimes just taking a bit more time, and just breathing a bit and stepping back a bit and actually put you into a much better emotional state to start making these huge, potentially life changing decisions. This is that your experience as well,

Kim Crewe 15:58
Absolutely, I think, you know, the opportunity to take time to reflect is really critical, it's so easy to make the wrong decision when current ones comes from an emotional place rather than a kind of a thinking place. So, so often in my work, I'm encouraging couples not to spring, any shocks or surprises on the other one, you know, so often I repeat that phrase, you know about shocks or surprises, because that's what raises anxiety. And so if we can kind of slow it down, take some time to really, really think and that's where the preparation work comes in. I think so people don't rushing to a legal process, before they're before they've really had a chance to think it through.

Tamsin Caine 16:48
Absolutely, because when you're in it, it's sort of almost can snowball and run away with you, without giving you that time to, to take for yourself and to fully take stock of of what's happening and the process that you're going through. And our conversation today is is fairly different to conversations I've had with the divorce coaches. So, but I would love to hear from you how you feel your work as a family consultant differs to the divorce coaches.

Kim Crewe 17:21
Okay, I guess part of what I do is that kind of going back to the collaborative process, or also with the mediation process, I can be part of the process. So I may go into the collaborative meetings and facilitate the, the meeting and be there to, to manage the emotions that come up in the meeting. And I, I pay attention to things like a body language, and if somebody is sitting agreeing to something that the rest of their kind of body is kind of indicating otherwise, you know, then I might kind of say, Well, actually, you know, I might question Are you sure you're comfortable with that and like I you know, if things get very, very kind of emotional, then we might take a break. And I might spend some time with one or other of the couple having a therapeutic background, I think I'm can be experienced in a knowing perhaps when previous losses are impacting at a particular time. Now, I think our family history and our history of relationships can have a really big, big impact on how we manage the separation or divorce process. And so if I have an understanding of each the couple's background and family history, it helps me help them to, to navigate their way through this. So I think as as a therapist, it probably makes makes a difference.

Tamsin Caine 19:01
Yeah, I would, I would say so. I can only imagine I haven't been party to it to a collaborative meeting myself, but I can only imagine that they they must get they must get quite heated and, and having you there to take some of the heat out of that must be must be incredibly valuable. And and I would imagine it does help to get to a resolution much more quickly if rather than them leaving the collaborative process still with that pent up anger.

Kim Crewe 19:35
Yeah, yeah, I think I think there's something about providing a you use the word family, financial neutral, the word neutral being a kind of a neutral person in the room test sort of hold the room. I think somebody was referred to me once to sort of being the ballast in the in the room and sort of trying to hold it in a way I think that often having a financial mutual or financial planner kind of, again is the is there for for the for the couple rather than than taking sides, and I think it creates a particular atmosphere in the in the room, which can be similar to in mediation, I've worked alongside quite a number of mediators where I've focused very much on the, the the children and the arrangements for the children. And yes supported the mediation process.

Tamsin Caine 20:33
That's them. It's a bit like the one show this that slide just beautifully into talking about, about arrangements for children and parenting plans that this is something we really haven't touched on very much in, in the podcast, which is considering how many we've recorded. It's quite, it's quite a surprise. But talk to me about what a parenting plan is to begin with, if that's okay.

Kim Crewe 21:01
Yeah, of course. So a parenting plan is a is a plan that covers all sorts of aspects of the CO parenting relationship. And I think it's something that's really helpful if it's done again, early on in the process. So it will cover things like you know, where the children are going to sleep, or what nights of the week those sort of basic living arrangements, but also it covers things like pocket money, things like introducing a knife, a new partner, when to do that, how to do that, that you're going to consult with the other, the other parent before you do that, and I think often people think, Oh, we don't need to be talking about this, right? Right now, we can sort that out later, but actually, to, to cover all these sorts of events, she validities early on, I think he's you know, proves really good idea. And things like how how children are going to be disciplined, as it were, are the couple on the same page with that the debt approach to, to managing that, and one thing that keeps coming up is around screen time trying to get trying to get on the same page with, you know, the, their approach to where the screen time. And so we go, we go through all these different different aspects of a of a parenting plan. And then often at the end, the parents might actually sign them to, to kind of show their agreement now also covers things like if, if one parent isn't, isn't going to be around who else they go to for child care. There's lots of different aspects to it. But it what it does is it ensures that the children are held at the forefront of both the both the parents and it really kind of lays down a groundwork for a really effective co parenting relationship, which is what, what they're moving into usually.

Tamsin Caine 23:08
And I think that's really important to start to think about all the things that you because it isn't just where the children children going to live. And who's going to pay well, which I think some of the time, it's sort of broken down, quite basically, who pays what, where are the children going to live? Where are we going to live? We've done that we're off. But also these things change over time. So does the parenting plan. So my children, as an example, were 10 and 11 when we separated, and now they're almost 16 and 17. So things have changed in how how that circumstance works, how our parenting of them works, how the how they spend time with each of us. And so with that being included in the parenting part as well.

Kim Crewe 24:13
Yeah, yeah. Sometimes we anticipate when there might be a change from going to primary school and secondary school, but quite often, a couple will come come back and we'll do a parenting plan review and and make the alterations as as necessary. For example, I was working for a couple where, you know, the Mum Mum was living some way away, and she moved more locally. And so therefore, there were different arrangements for the for the children. And I think we do need to, to be aware that things do change as as you're saying over time. So to come back and do a do a review, I think can be a real, real, really helpful exercise. Not just to To make those changes, but also pick up if any of the, for example, if communications got a bit out of kilter and really to revisit how the children are and what they need, it's a really good sort of, again, stop and pause and think moment, I really encourage couples to come back and do a review of the parenting plan.

Tamsin Caine 25:24
I love that I didn't realise that was something that was done. But I think that's really, really useful. It's almost like pressing reset, isn't it? I really like that as an idea. And we're coming to the end of our time together, and it's been fantastic talking to you. I wonder before, before we go, if you've got any tips for, for couples who were just at the very beginning of this process,

Kim Crewe 25:49
yeah, then one of my main tips is to where to take one's time before knee jerking, to get into the legal process. Because I think often when people feel so angry or hurt, supposing they found out a partner has been having an affair or something that has created a real kind of emotional response, I think often is the pool to kind of pick up the pick up the phone and contacted, contact a lawyer and get straight into the legal process. So my first tip would just be to say, just kind of pause and thing can, you know, contact somebody like me just talk it through to wit before that, that game, you know, pressing that legal bat and, and, and also to be mindful of, of who, who they talk to often, you know, friends that can be very kind of, well meaning and, but will often have some story or other experience of divorce and will be no often kind of saying, Oh, you know, you can must do that. Or you can try for this and get this. And whereas actually if if the couple can begin to talk with one another. You know, things can escalate really quickly. And I suppose I'm really keen to help couples say thoughtful and calm and really think this through step by step. So it's something about Yeah, hoo hoo be be choosy about who you talk to.

Tamsin Caine 27:23
I love that. That's a, that's a really good tip. And anyone who wants to hear more about an example of the impact that it can have, by talking to the wrong people, if you want to have listened to the real life podcast we did with Beth Yeates, Beth Thompson. Sorry. She's remarried. That's it. That's a really good example of really what our friends didn't, didn't hugely, hugely help very, very well meaning, but yeah, really didn't help the processor. I think, some brilliant tips there. I think, you know, remembering who, who you're talking to and trying to be kind as well as so often. Kim, it's been really fantastic to talk to you. Thank you so much for joining me today. Absolutely. Sure, we'll be talking to you going because it's been a real pleasure.

Kim Crewe 28:21
Thank you. It's been a real pleasure to have been invited. Thank you very much.

Tamsin Caine 28:29
I hope you enjoy that that episode of the smart boss podcast. If you would like to get in touch please have a look in the show notes for our details or go onto the website WWW dot smart Also, if you are listening on Apple podcasts or on Spotify, and you wouldn't mind leaving us a lovely five star review. That would be fantastic. I know that lots of our listeners are finding this is incredibly helpful in their journey through separation divorce, and dissolving a civil partnership. Also, if you would like some foot further support, we do have Facebook group now. It's called separation divorce and dissolution UK. Please do go on to Facebook, search the group and we'd be delighted to have you join us. The one thing I would say is do please answer their membership questions. Okay, have a great day and take care

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