Coaches can bring out the best of us in life and sport but they can also be influential voices on the home front.

Co-parent coaches are increasingly being sought by couples as they grapple with the challenge of shared parenting after separation and divorce.

Ceri Bruce is a Senior Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner at Centacare and supports parents to overcome factors that impinge on their ability to work together while living apart.

“Co-parent coaching does not involve delving into past behaviours or individual issues but rather assists parents to identify what it is that is blocking the co-parent alliance,’’ Ceri said.

“We assist them to try out new ways with specific behaviour strategies, or to change flawed thinking that is preventing them from reaching their family goals.’’

Parents accessing Centacare’s Family Dispute Resolution service can be referred to Co-Parenting Coaching and are coached over one-hour sessions, with a focus on respectful decision-making in the best interests of their child.

“The intention is always for children to get the best possible version of separation from both families in both households,’’ Ceri said.

“Sometimes it’s just about helping the parents communicate when they might not want to or think that they don’t need to.

“Our role is to help them separate themselves from their own needs and intent, in order to focus on what’s best for the child.’’

Together, parents are encouraged to set clear and consistent boundaries and practices that work in both homes, creating a sense of stability, security and safety for their children.

“Children benefit because they develop meaningful attachment with both parents as well as significant family members, which is crucial for their overall wellbeing,’’ Ceri said.

“Parents also learn strategies for self-care, and we see them grow in confidence from that.’’

ABS data shows there were 49,404 divorces granted nationally in 2018 – nearly half involved children. Of those divorces, the median duration of marriage was 12.3 years.

In family law cases, separating couples must make a genuine effort to resolve parenting and financial issues through dispute resolution before they can apply to the courts for orders.

In addition to co-parent coaching, Centacare offers child inclusive family dispute resolution, where appropriate, to ensure the voice of the child is heard in a safe and supported manner during parenting negotiations.

Ceri said family dispute resolution is an often quicker, more collaborative and more affordable option for resolving parenting disputes and reaching agreements about how property is divided.

Case Study

A couple, aged in their early 30s, experience a difficult separation. Communication continues to be a significant stumbling block, as it was throughout their relationship.

They attempt Family Dispute Resolution but find it difficult to reach and maintain effective agreements around parenting.

Through the service, they are referred to a Co-Parent Coach who supports them to identify the areas that are contributing to breakdowns in their communication.

They embrace new strategies to better manage their individual emotional reactions.

The parents report improved interactions with the other. Their children comment that they feel more at ease now when both parents are present as there is less tension and more amicable communication between the two.

The parents continue to seek the support of their coach until they are satisfied they have significantly strengthened their co-parenting alliance.

For more information about Centacare’s Family Dispute Resolution service, including Co-Parent Coaching, please contact Centacare on 8215 6700 or Centacare South East on 8303 6630 or email enquiries@centacare.org.au. Explore our range of Family Dispute Resolution services and locations including Mount Gambier HERE.

Navigating separation and divorce is not easy. There are many decisions to be made around finances, property and parenting. Centacare’s Post-Separation Parenting Course can support you to better understand and manage changes in your family.

 

Parenting after a relationship ends can be both daunting and challenging.

Parents may feel isolated and low in confidence as they adjust to their family’s new circumstances.

They may also struggle to communicate with one another in a non-adversarial way, and be challenged by their children’s behaviour.

Centacare South East offers a free three-hour post-separation parenting workshop for clients of its Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) service to guide separated parents through change.  This workshop is also available at a small fee for parents not accessing the FDR service.

At the workshop, parents can:

  • Share with others what is different now that their family has changed
  • Learn what their children need
  • Develop strategies to communicate respectfully with the other parent
  • Identify what gets in the way of working with the other parent
  • Explore the development needs of children

The focus of the workshop is on post-separation parenting and how to best support children through this challenging time in a positive manner.  A separated couple will need to attend separate sessions.

It is not designed for adults to resolve their personal experiences of grief or anger related to the end of their relationship.

As bookings are essential, please contact Centacare on 8303.6630.  Alternatively, expressions of interest may be directed to fdr@centacare.org.au

 

Case study

The split

Sam* and Gill* had shared three children and a decade of memories when their marriage ended.

Both blamed one another for the demise of their relationship.

Focussed on how one had made the other feel, they were preoccupied with resentment and humiliation.

Sam and Gill commenced Family Dispute Resolution with Centacare.

Gill’s story

Though she worried about the impact of their separation on the children, Gill’s primary focus was on herself – and never having to speak to Sam again.

At intake, the Centacare Family Dispute Resolution practitioner suggested some self-care strategies and asked Gill how the children were managing, given the level of hostility between their parents.

It made Gill stop and think: If she was finding it so hard to cope, how were the children faring?

She wanted to be there for them but worried about parenting alone, so she took her practitioner’s advice and enrolled in Centacare’s Post Separation Parenting Course.

Sam’s story

Sam cited `growing apart’ as the reason for the separation.

His priority was on moving forward towards a new life – without Gill in it.

Sam’s initial thoughts revolved around his new life. However, in speaking with the Family Dispute Resolution practitioner at intake, he became curious about how his children might cope with this new direction and resolved to support them more.

He too commenced the Post Separation Parenting Course.

Sharing responsibility

The course gave each parent a new perspective on their separation and the important place that each has in their children’s lives.

When the day of the joint mediation session arrived after both parents had attended a post-separation parenting course, Sam and Gill chatted amicably in the same waiting area.

Asked by the practitioner what had led to their change of heart, they explained they now saw their separation in a new light.

Previously, they had not been able to see past their own feelings to recognise their children’s needs.

However, undertaking the course had shown them the importance of putting their children first.

After the course, each had contacted the other citing a desire to work together as co-parents for the sake of their son and daughters.

Discussions continued in a child-focussed, cooperative manner.

A parenting plan was reached and both parents made a full commitment to their children.

Gill and Sam continue to build a strong co-parenting alliance based on mutual respect and understanding – driven by the needs of their children.

 

Centacare

Meeting the Challenge

Centacare Catholic Family Services is a Catholic welfare organisation delivering a range of services across the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Client Services

45 Wakefield Street Adelaide SA 5000
T 08 8215 6700
E enquiries@centacare.org.au

Opening Hours

Monday – Tuesday | 9am – 5pm
Wednesday – Thursday | 9am – 9pm
Friday | 9am – 5pm

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