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It may feel virtually impossible when you are going through the trauma of separation and divorce, but when you share small children with your ex, it’s critical you are both on the same page about co-parenting. Children need the continuing care and support of both parents, and you need to find a way to navigate the separation process so that you and your ex-partner can create a healthy, new ‘normal’ for your kids and develop a way to co-parent effectively to minimise the effect of conflict and stress caused by the separation process.

What does “child-focused” signify?

When your divorce negotiations and mediation are underway, keeping them child-focused means moving beyond just the adult disputes to focus on how agreements should be arranged to best benefit the children.

Practitioners describe it as “finding the child’s voice” in the middle of the parental dispute.  It means prioritising the needs of each of the children and ensuring agreements reached meet their psychological and developmental needs.  Protecting children from parental acrimony is vital to ensure a secure emotional base for children and help their adjustment to the split.

Where to get help with child-focused parenting skills

It can be easier said than done, though, so if you are if you are struggling with child-focused parenting during your separation or divorce, you might find the online resource,, useful. It’s a website devoted to helping parents find child-focused pathways through divorce and separation through the use of evidence-based educational and therapeutic resources.

Established by Professor Jennifer McIntosh, one of the world’s leading child psychologists in the divorce and trauma fields, the website provides guidance and support for parents who are concerned about the impact of divorce and separation on their kids.

Professor McIntosh leads parents through a ‘short and powerful’ 90 minute online educational program which is aimed at giving parents the tools to protect their kids from stress and grow their skills as parents and co-parents.  Drawing on her 35 years of therapeutic, mediation, teaching and research experience, Professor McIntosh’s program helps parents learn how to become a “shared, secure base” for their small kids.

Whether you are using mediation or going through the court system, the easy-to-understand program is reasonably inexpensive ($55 for the seven day course) and teaches all about early emotional development, and the needs and vulnerabilities of young children during separation.

Also on the website, children can view a short film called “Tom’s Game”, a true story told by a seven year old boy about the breakdown of his parent’s marriage, describing the court process through the eyes of a child.

Family law practitioners, too, can benefit from the website, which offers online training in child-inclusive mediation and post-separation counselling.

For all the details, visit the website here: Children Beyond Dispute.

Do you need assistance with a family law matter involving children? Here at Alliance Family Law we can help with a range of parenting outcomes, whether it’s advising about a child’s rights under the Family Law Act or drafting a Parenting Plan or a set of Consent Orders, or advising you if your matter is at the stage where court is the final option. Please contact Cristina Huesch or one of our other solicitors on (02) 6223 2400 for friendly, experienced advice on all the legal aspects of post-separation parenting.

Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance Family Law.


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