According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 47.8% of the divorces granted in 2021 were of couples with children under 18 years. About 20 to 25% of divorcing parents remain engaged in conflict for many years after separation. When parents experience conflict and cannot manage their coparenting relationships, many return to court. The ongoing conflict between the parents has a detrimental effect on the children and leaves the children at risk of short and long-term adjustment problems.
My research shows that when parents work with a Parenting Coordinator who teaches them the skills to resolve their disputes constructively, it significantly reduces the adverse impact on children. Parenting coordination is an alternative dispute resolution process that follows (not precedes) the determination of a family law dispute by court order or agreement and is an intervention that assists parents to navigate conflict effectively and apply their parenting orders or agreements without acrimony, by learning the skills to resolve future disputes without the need for lawyers and having to go back to court.
I looked at the systems in the US and Canada primarily because parenting coordination originated in these two countries over 20 years ago and many thought leaders and researchers in the field of parenting coordination are from the US and Canada. I was eager to see what I could learn so I could adapt it to the Australian context. In addition to these two countries, I also chose to visit South Africa as parenting coordination has been evolving there over the last twelve years and it also has an established practice. I also conducted extensive research in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, Singapore and Hong Kong as these countries have
implemented parenting coordination in their jurisdictions more recently.
My research included:
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