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The Family Solutions Group is a multi-disciplinary group set up in 2020 by Sir Stephen Cobb, chair of the Private Law Working Group, to consider the needs of families following separation. 

Its report “What About Me?: Reframing Support for Families following Parental Separation” which was described as  “a blueprint for radical change” by Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division was published in November 2020.

The Family Solutions Group: What About Me? report contributors

Helen Adam (Chair) – Mediator, Solicitor (non-practising)

Karen Barham – Mediator, Parent Coordinator, Solicitor

Charlotte Bradley – Solicitor, Mediator

Elizabeth Coe – National Association of Child Contact Centres

Adrienne Cox – Mediator, Solicitor (non-practising)

HHJ Martin Dancey – Designated Family Judge for Dorset

Dr Jan Ewing – University of Exeter

Claire Field – Parenting Apart Programme

Patrick Myers – DWP Reducing Parental Conflict Programme

Beverley Sayers – Mediator, FMC board member, Therapist

Anna Sinclair – Cafcass Cymru

Judith Timms OBE – National Youth Advocacy Service

Jane Wilson – Mediator, Solicitor (non-practising)


  • Government must focus its policy and funding on keeping child welfare at the centre of any family separation.  A ‘family solutions system’ is long overdue, so only those who need a court order access our ‘family justice system’. 
  • Parents and children should be offered early information and support at the start of the separation process, so needs can be assessed, and the right route chosen.
  • Wider society should be persuaded to dial down combative and ‘fighting-talk’ language when describing family separation.


The task of identifying, developing and then funding a better way to achieve good enough co-parenting between separated parents is a matter for society in general, policy makers, Government and, ultimately Parliament; it is not for the judges. My purpose today is, therefore, simply to call out what is going on in society’s name, and at the State’s expense, and invite others to take up that call.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division | Keynote Address, Resolution Annual Conference

FSG chair, Helen Adam, speaks to LBC radio about the call for radical change in how government supports separating families.
Listen here >


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  • Frequent intense and poorly resolved parental conflict is harmful to children, with potential life-long consequences. Source: Inter-parental conflict and youth psychopathology: evidence review, Harold and Sellers (2018)
  • Every year in Britain around 280,000 children experience parental separation. Source: What About Me?: Reframing Support for Families following Parental Separation 2020, p54
  • The cost to the taxpayer of family separation is large and growing – £51billion in 2018, up from £37bn in 2009. Source: Relationships Foundation, 2018 update.
  • Government has not adopted a coordinated Family Policy fit for the 2020s, despite a commitment by the former Lord Chancellor in the 3rd reading of the Divorce Bill.
    “My commitment … is that, as a government, we will work harder to coordinate, to bring together the strands of policy, that sit with various departments, and to ensure that we have a Family Policy that is fit for the 2020s” Source: Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords] Robert Buckland: Committee stage & 3rd reading: House of Commons & Committee: 1st sitting & Committee: 1st sitting: House of Commons, Wednesday 17th June 2020
  • The primary reason for children being referred to counselling is the effects of family breakdown. Source: Fegans (2020)


  • Hashtag: #whataboutme

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