As a result of the unique skill set between Richard Gregorian (Principal Solicitor) and Gavin Emerson (in-house psychological expertise ), we have an unrivalled ability to understand and present to maximum effect all issues relating to alcoholism and drug and other addictions into our client’s cases.
This enables us to formulate a strategy for agreement, mediation, and/or litigation in the most effective way for our clients to succeed in achieving their objectives. Where possible, such strategies involve maintaining the relationship between the parent concerned and the children, with any appropriate safeguards and if it is safe to do so.
Without such “in-house” mental health expertise, it is very likely that one or more of the following outcomes will occur:
- In the culture of blame and counter-blame that accompanies family law litigation in this area, the natural concerns of the parent exposed to the addictive behaviour of their former spouse/partner can be “lost” in the case, leading to even more frustration, hurt and helplessness;
- The parent seeking to “prove” alcoholism in the other party can “sleepwalk” into unhelpful expert opinion from court appointed psychiatrists. Such experts, who wish to see a positive outcome for the parent impacted by addictive behaviour, may be unable to identify the self-serving, self reporting of the parent being assessed and, therefore, prepare an accurate report. Alcoholism does, after all, involve a legal substance consumed by most adults and it is a question of degree as to whether an individual is a problematic drinker. Alternatively, the expert may arrive at the conclusion that simply being “alcoholic” does not disbar the addicted parent from contact with their children, when such opinion reflects a simplistic analysis of the family dynamic and behaviour of the addicted parent and the harm they cause to the other parent and children. They may go even further and report that since alcoholism or other addictive behaviour is based in a dysfunctional coping mechanism, one of the appropriate treatment plans is for the addicted parent to have contact with their child(ren) re-established.
Where the primary symptomology of alcoholism or other addictive behaviour includes denial, blame, a lack of awareness and secrecy, our joint legal and psychological approach is particularly effective to ensure that the “truth” of the addiction is demonstrated to the court and other child-centric agencies, whilst the best outcome for the children is secured.
Our joint legal and psychological approach maximises the chances of demonstrating alcoholism or other addictive behaviour beyond any court report which may, because of the self-serving nature of the assessment, result in a negative diagnosis. It is vital for your legal representative to be able to speak the same language as any mental health expert who may be appointed in order to obtain maximum value from their opinions.
Further, when individuals suffer from such problems, it may be very difficult to communicate with them. Using the combined legal and psychological expertise that we possess, we can help to establish a constructive framework of communication to support the family unit.
For further information, please see our articles in the Blog section of this website“.
Contact Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors
Based in Guildford, Surrey, Cobham and Central London, we can help you. If you have a family dispute that needs resolving, we are here to help and look forward to your call. Please click here to contact us, or call us on 01483 826 470