The experiences of professionals managing relationship conflict between separating couples

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Law


The research will investigate the emotional support family lawyers give their clients. In particular, focusing on the following research questions:
a) Do family lawyers consciously accept that emotional support forms a necessary and central part of their role, and are they comfortable addressing emotional issues?
b) What emotional support to clients expect and seek from their lawyers, and to what degree to they feel their needs are being met?
c) Are there any gender differences in the emotional support which clients seek or accept?

It has been established that an individual's emotional readiness is a key aspect in the settlement
process (Hitchings et al, 2014). Clients of family law solicitors appear to struggle because the
family law system expects them to deal with factual issues in isolation from the emotional reality of
their circumstances. Psychological research tells us that emotions play a crucial role in decision
making (Damasio, 2006), and that emotional support helps clients to negotiate and resolve family
disputes in a positive way (Hunt, 2011). This research will combine knowledge from both psychology
and socio-legal research to look at family dispute resolution and settlement in a novel way.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
1925955 Studentship ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2023 Hannah Sophia Holdaway