Many parents need some post separation parenting help. There are a lot of decisions to be made when you go from being a couple to being separated parents working together for your child’s best interests.
The problem is that you are probably not both going to be working together right from the start. Parenting after you separate is usually hard and frustrating. It also has the potential to cause long-term harm to your children if you get it badly wrong.
Post Separation Parenting Help with Managing Emotions
The biggest cause of conflict in the period after separation is unmanaged emotions.
Your relationship with your children’s other parent is so damaged that you (or they) or both of you don’t want to be relationship partners anymore. There may have been separation violence or even a history of violence in the relationship. One of you may have spent a lot of time and energy on controlling the other and isn’t quite ready to let go yet.
Even if your relationship wasn’t one that experienced high levels of conflict during the relationship it is likely that you’re feeling angry, disappointed and possibly sad about the end of your marriage.
You will without question go through the ups and downs of grief one moment feeling relieved and the next considering getting back together. Sometimes having angry and hateful feelings about your former partner and other times feeling depressed and hopeless.
If you find yourself getting stuck in any of these emotional states you may need a bit more help. Going to see your local family doctor is a great first step.
They can refer you on to a psychologist for some counselling support.
The New Ways for Families online course also helps you to learn the four big skills for resilience following separation – Find out more
You are most likely not at your best and most collaborative and neither is your former partner.
Post Separation Parenting Help with focusing on your Children’s Needs
Unfortunately now, more than ever, your children need you to be the parent and able to support them through all the changes they will experience due to your marriage ending.
In the majority of cases, even if there has been some family violence, the children will continue to have contact with you both at some level. You may have shared care where the children share their time between sleeping at your house and your former partners.
The child may live with one of you and spend significant and substantial time with the other.
If that is not possible then there will still probably be some form of contact between parents and children. It is generally considered by the researchers who have studied post separation parenting to be in the child’s best interest to maintain a relationship with their parents and extended family.
You are going to be asked to support that while you are feeling angry and upset with your former partner and perhaps their parents and other family members over things that have been said and done during the break up and before.
Family Dispute Resolution provides a supported way to work out and then modify parenting agreements without the cost and drama of going to court. You or your former partner may have resisted the concept of sharing care for your children and have ended up in Family Court. Even if you have court orders they are unlikely to be the best arrangement for your children long-term until they grow up.
You can usually use Family Dispute Resolution services to tweak parenting arrangements even if they have been made into a Court Order.
Post Separation Parenting Guide v3.18
Family Dispute Resolution Mediation Post Separation Parenting Help
Family Dispute Resolution, known as FDR or Family Law Mediation, provides practical help to work out parenting agreements and to review them as your children grow or your situation changes.
The problem is that sometimes the conflict has been too high and the standard mediation process offered by services is not suitable. If mediation is considered to be not a suitable process due to safety concerns or refusal a Section 60i Certificate is issued and people can go to court. In most cases you don’t want to go straight to court. It is stressful, expensive and will only make your relationship with your co-parent worse.
Interact Support has two much lower cost options available – High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution and Mediator Facilitated Negotiation. No matter how high the conflict Interact Support has services available that may be able to help.
Find out more about our Family Dispute Resolution Services:
- Family Dispute Resolution – video mediation, no waiting lists – $198 per hour
- High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution – shuttle video mediation – $198 per person per hour co-mediation model
- Mediator Facilitated Negotiation – assistance to prepare and consider offers and proposals – $198 per person per hour
The other remaining option before going to court is to work with a lawyer to facilitate negotiation. Lawyer negotiation will generally cost you each somewhere between $350 and $450 per hour.
Avoid becoming High Conflict with a Post-Separation Parenting Course
New Ways for Families is a program designed to help your family from becoming high conflict and ending up in the Family Court or if that has already happened to give you strategies to help you minimise the damage that is caused to your children and yourselves.
The course was developed by Bill Eddy from the High Conflict Institute and adapted for the Australian Legal environment by Interact Support. For more information or to book to do the course go to https://interact.support/product/parenting-without-conflict-online-course
Use tools to help you collaborate
If you are co-parenting there will be hassles from time to time or perhaps more often than that! Changeovers, time swaps and reimbursement of money spent can all be times of conflict.
Our Family Wizard is a software tool that has been well proven to help reduce and prevent co-parenting issues. It is low cost ($124 per parent per year) and has the option of subsidies if you are experiencing genuine hardship.
If you are separating then you have some decisions to make with your child’s other parent and going to court to ask a judge to decide for your family should be the last resort not the first option you consider.
Family Dispute Resolution is your best option if you and your former partner are on speaking terms and can put your own hurt and anger aside in order to think about what is in the best interest of your children.
You need to inform yourself about your options and about the consequence of exposing your children to conflict. Exposure to conflict is toxic to developing brains and causes damage to your child’s brain development, ability to manage their emotions and form healthy relationships. We encourage you to complete the New Ways for Families course before you undertake Family Dispute Resolution.
Once you have an agreement in place about shared care for your child Our Family Wizard can make the day to day logistics of sharing care for children from two different homes much easier.