Civilised Separations

Ashley Palmer has collaborated with Bill Hewlett and together they are offering a Civilised Separation package in Central London. Below is a little background information and how the process works.

Ashley Palmer
Ashley is a member of the Family Mediators Association (FMA), of which she is a board member and also chair of the communications committee. She is a registered member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP), with 10 years of working with individuals and couples.

As an accredited Family Mediator and Family Law Consultant she is also qualified in Direct Child Consultation. This means that Ashley is able to speak to your children and gain an understanding of their experience of the parental separation.

Over the past 20 years Ashley has worked across the globe with high profile clients and is totally conversant with discretion and utmost confidentiality.

Ashley is the Managing Director of BerryBlue Press and the co-author author of The Handover Book, an unparalleled book that addresses the needs of families in conflict.

Bill Hewlett
For over 17 years Bill has maintained an extremely high reputation for clinical service delivery as a trainer, mediator, counselor, coach and child consultant. Bill not only continues to train and mentor practitioners to be family consultants world wide, but has many invitations to speak at local, national and international forums.

Bill developed what he calls ‘Relational Mediation’. This approach was researched and led to new training within 6 Family Relationship Centres across Greater Sydney and now he has settled in the UK bring his talent across the pond.

Ashley and Bill will either co-work on complex cases or work individually when requested or required. When working individually they are able to offer independent support to either party if needed.

How we can help:

We will help you navigate your way through this difficult time and look after both of you to the point where you will experience a desire for each of you to reach higher ground. This will leave you with a sense of pride and an awareness that what you have done is going to be something that your children will appreciate forever

Would it be true to say that:

You are angry and haven’t forgotten or forgiven the other person for how you have been treated, whether it is about the way the separation happened or it’s about the way you have been feeling for a long time?

You want to know that this process is going to give you results, you want fairness, clarity and certainty about your new life and you want the conflict to be over.

Also you’re concerned that if you can’t come to some point of mutual understanding and peace, then this conflict and inability to come to any mutual decisions could go on for years.

Maybe you don’t want to sit in a room with the other parent and be asked to be nice; you don’t feel like being nice, for the children’s sake, or for anyone’s sake for that matter.

You think that one of the good things about using a lawyer is that they have the difficult discussion for you and that you have control over the process.


You do recognise that getting involved in some long drawn out legal process probably isn’t going to make things any better

You definitely don’t want the children to be affected by your separation. You do want to know how much time you’re both going to spend with the children and how you are going to afford it.

It would be nice ultimately to get to a place where you’re not constantly thinking about what happened and you do recognise that the other parent being in a constant state of fury with you isn’t making your life easy either– it would be nice if all of that stopped.

Although you may not like the idea you probably do need to have a proper conversation where you talk about what happened to you and how it felt, (although not to drag through every awful thing that happened) and it would be nice if the other person were able to acknowledge how it was from your perspective.

All the fights you’ve had so far haven’t resulted in any real progress, so you’re still none the wiser about what’s going to happen. In fact, the arguments you do have only result in you feeling even more pessimistic about any real progress than before you started.

You would like to know if the kids are ok and if your separation has had any effect on them, although you certainly don’t want to be made to feel any worse about that than you already do. You would like to have a constructive conversation about what you both might do in the future to ensure that the children will be ok and that they don’t suffer any undue circumstances due to the fact that their parents have separated. In fact, it would be nice if they could one day say they appreciated how you well you both managed it.

You would like some peace so that you can get on with your new life without having to worry about what’s going to happen next.

You would rather spend a fraction of the money that you would spend if you went through an adversarial legal process

Civilised Separations

How it works – The Process
How many times do we meet?
There will be a minimum of four meetings, one with each of you face to face for 90 minutes and one with your children 40 minutes each and then a session with both of you for 2.5 – 3.30 hours (depending on how many children you have) to feedback on how the children are travelling and to work out the details of your separation and parental alliance. It may be necessary to meet with you individually more than once depending on your readiness to proceed to the next stage

Individual support
If you think it would be appropriate, we can provide both or one of you with a support person who will just work with you and be independent of the process.

Individual meetings with you
What we do is to meet with you both individually to get you ready so that when we do all get together everyone is in a good frame of mind and ready to work out how you are going to make arrangements for your children and how you are going to divide up your assets.

Meeting your children
We will meet with your children for about 40 minutes each, probably only once, to see how they are travelling while you are going through all this. Generally speaking, children do not find this to be stressful; in fact they like having the opportunity to talk about how they feel without having to worry about the consequences. We are only interested in finding out what the consequences of your relationship with each other is having on your children we are not looking to see who is a better parent. Your children will be told that what they say to us is confidential and that we won’t be talking about what they have said unless we have their explicit permission to do so. However, we will talk to you both about how we think they are going and we will have a discussion with you both about how to best manage your post separation parenting alliance in the future.

In addition to helping you both work out arrangements and agreements about your children and your assets, we will also help you work out how you are going to get on with each other so that you can enjoy an amicable parenting relationship, (you won’t necessarily be having long lingering chats over cups of tea) but we will help you put together something that will stop the exhausting and debilitating conflict. This will give the children a sense that you, as their parents have regained your equilibrium, which will mean they, your children, can go back to the important developmental business of being kids.

Consent orders
If you want, we can write up the agreements you have come to and they can be given to lawyers who can write them into a consent order. This is not essential but some people like to do this as they feel it gives them a sense of certainty about the future.

Parental alliance
We won’t just focus on the things that have been hard to resolve, but we’ll have a look at why they’ve been hard to sort out. This is important if you both want to have a parenting alliance that in the future will be able to get you through all of the challenges that will come up as your children grow and develop. We’re keen to provide you both with the means to have difficult conversations about subjects that would historically have been difficult to discuss without a row.

You will get to a point where things that used to be really hard to sort out will become simple and easy. Effectively you’ll go from “why should I?’ to “why wouldn’t I?” Discussions about the children and the time you both spend with them will be characterized by a sense of goodwill and amicability, we know that’s hard to imagine right now, but we’ve been through this process many times before and we know what we’re talking about.

How long will this take?
If things have been difficult for a long time, or you have both been involved in a drawn out and stressful adversarial legal process, then it might take a little longer to get you both to the point where everyone is ready to get together and sort things out in a constructive and optimistic way. We certainly won’t be wanting to slow things down, but we do recognize that sometimes people need a bit of time and help to be emotionally and psychologically ready. You can trust that we will be keen to push on as soon as you are both ready and able.