At Resolve Conflict Family Lawyers and Mediators our focus is always on the children and finding divorce solutions that keep their welfare front and centre.

Coping with parenting when your children are split between two households and two parents, and in some cases, partners and grandparents, is difficult.  You need patience and a good dollop of kindness and understanding to manage your children.  You also need to have a commitment to consistency between parents.  Setting boundaries and keeping disciplinary measures in place will make life easier for everyone all round, including the children.

Here are some tips that will help you along the way:

  • Try to keep the same rules in place that were followed before the separation. If your kids weren’t allowed to watch television after 6pm don’t suddenly decide that it is OK for them to do that. When kids are feeling like their world is changing, they need to have some sameness in their daily routine.  Maintaining household rules and standards can give them a sense of stability.


  •  If you have a less than cordial relationship with your ex try to enlist the help of a 3rd party to discuss discipline for the children.  To have consistency across both homes will be a great help to you both, no matter how hard that is to achieve.


  •  No matter how hard it is, for your children’s sake, don’t reverse each other’s decisions.  It will only confuse your children.   And don’t say yes when you had agreed to say no.


  •  Most of all – don’t discuss your personal views of the other parent with your child and never try to turn your children against the other parent. Remember, this person is still your child’s father or mother and they deserve the right to have their relationship with them untarnished by your views.  In years to come they will be able to make up their own mind, but for now, hold your tongue. No matter how hurt or angry you are, keep your opinions to yourself and spend some time venting with a close friend, not your children.


  •  Living between two houses can be tough.  Try to achieve a routine that kids can feel comfortable with which will help make them feel secure, and help them manage the division of clothes and other personal items at home and school so they never have the added stress of being without something as it’s at ‘the other parents house’.

It can be a difficult and awkward time transitioning to a two-parent lifestyle but a good result can be achieved. Above all keep talking with your children about how they are feeling and what they are experiencing.

For more information on how you can separate and divorce with or without court please contact our office  – 9620 0088


The five Cs of separation and divorce

by resconflict on July 19, 2017

the-five-cs-of-separation-and-divorceThe following article gives expert advice, by Dr Justin Coulson, on the five key things to making a separation and divorce as easy on children as it can be.

The five Cs of separation and divorce

By Dr Justin Coulson |

As of 2011, there is some good news about divorce – it’s becoming less common. The Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that divorce rates involving children under the age of 18 are slowly declining. That’s great news, given that separation and divorce generally have devastating effects on children.

Separation is tough on kids. The two people they look up to and rely on more than anyone in the world decide that they can’t get along. This generally means that at least one of those parents will find a new place to live, and that the relationships between family members will be drastically changed.

These five Cs of separation can alleviate some of the challenges and minimise some of the risks to your children, should separation and/or divorce become a part of your life.


Research has shown that parents who remain near one another give their children the best opportunities for success. Children who have the option of visiting with mum or dad most days of the week seem to respond to the challenges of separation and divorce best. Some reasons include:

  • the simple convenience
  • children who see their parents more have (generally) better relationships with them than children who rarely see their parents
  • they are more likely to have easier access to friends
  • schooling and sports or other extra activities can be much more easily accommodated

Related Article:
The Top 5 Mistakes Divorced Parents Make


Children thrive when their parents are involved in their lives. Most research now suggests that parents be involved in the bathing, helping, shopping, and support of their children. It is not fair for the children, or the parents, if one parent does all of the mundane childrearing, and the other gets all of the weekends and holidays for fun time. Such arrangements usually lead to less than optimal outcomes. It is also important that both parents be there for the big events. Two parents are required for these moments.


Research unequivocally shows that parents need to keep their children away from the conflict associated with their break up. For a child, seeing his parents fight is scary. And there is no doubt that children who feel torn between parents are the worst off. High conflict exacerbates emotional distress and poor psychological adjustment.

However, when we, as parents, take a courteous and civil approach, our children thrive. Treat your ex with respect, even if it’s an illusion. Many experts recommend pretending your former spouse is a business client. If you treat him in this way, you are unlikely to yell, badger, or ring at all hours of the day or night.


Children do best when their lives are stable. Stability helps children feel secure. They know what’s happening, and feel comfortable that they have a routine. They can predict the future with some accuracy. This sense of certainty gives children the courage to explore, develop, and take risks that are associated with normal and healthy growth. When we provide a stable, secure environment, children respond well.

Change, particularly the kinds of change associated with divorce or separation, is not well received. Our children need to be given clear and honest warnings before changes, and need considerable time to adjust.  When sharing warnings and information, ensure that what you tell them is simple and age appropriate.

Be patient and understanding after changes occur. These changes can often be tougher on the kids than they are on you.


Researchers have also discovered that children do best when they experience the same standard of living in both of the homes that they live in. Mum and Dad should both be able to provide them with similar circumstances, food, facilities, and resources. When this does not happen, one parent’s home becomes a far more appealing place to be, with more treats, opportunities, and niceties. While this may feel nice for the children, over time these circumstances will develop into feelings of resentment and unhappiness for children and parents.

When we maintain closeness and caregiving, minimise conflict and change, and maintain a reasonable equilibrium in terms of cash and standard of living, we can reduce the impact that separation and divorce have on children.


For information on how you can separate and divorce with or without court please contact our office  – 03 9620 0088 or email

7 ways to prevent money from ruining your marriage

by resconflict on July 12, 2017

how to stop fighting about moneyMoney and lack of financial compatibility is often contributed to divorcing couples. The following article by Emmie Martin highlights 7 ways in which couples can prevent money ruining their relationship.


7 ways to prevent money from ruining your marriage

By Emmie Martin | Business Insider Australia | DEC 3, 2016

Often, money equals power.

That can become especially true within a marriage, where sharing finances with a partner depends on mutual trust, respect, and understanding — principles that can be easily breached, leading to anger and suspicion.

But armed with the right tools, spouses can prevent letting money ever become a point of contention.

Business Insider spoke with a relationship expert and several financial planners to discern how couples can avoid fighting about money. Here’s what they had to say.

Learn how to talk about it

Choosing to facilitate open and honest communication around money is the most important financial decision couples can make for a successful future.

According to Michael McNulty, a Ph.D. at The Chicago Relationship Center and Master Trainer with The Gottman Institute, the majority of issues couples face within a relationship are “perpetual problems,” meaning that they continue to come up again and again. As one of these “perpetual problems,” money is something spouses should learn to talk about and work through from day one.

“When perpetual problems become gridlocked, when they have become too much to talk about, they have these negative reactions: They feel more tense, it’s hard to take the information from one another, they tend to use negative patterns of communication,” McNulty explains. “And then what ends up happening is they stop talking about the issue.”

As soon as they get married — or ideally, before — successful couples show their entire hand to their partner: student loans, credit card debt, everything. From there, they can start developing a structure that allows for continual open dialogue and find ways to tend to both of their needs and wants going forward.

Money can be awkward and uncomfortable to open up about, but getting everything out in the open will pay off in spades.

Related Article: Money mistakes that ruin marriage

Develop goals together

When you’re sharing your finances, it’s important to decide together what you want to do with those resources. Successful couples come up with goals as a team and check in frequently to make sure they’re on the same page.

Financial goals set the course for the rest of your life goals — Should we blow our money on a trip to Italy or save up to buy a home? — so it’s imperative that couples operate from the same starting point.

“If partners in particular have two different sets of goals and they’re just not on the same page, that can lead to a lot of acting out financially,” McNulty says. “One partner might spend without the other knowing and that sort of thing.”

Schedule time to check in every week

As a way to maintain open, honest dialogue, McNulty often recommends weekly “state of the marriage” meetings to clients, where they can discuss any perpetual issues that might be flaring up, from how to divvy up chores to how to handle their finances.

“If any of those problems get gridlocked, which means that they’re stuck and they’re really hard to talk about, we have to work extra hard on how to talk about them,” he says. “Usually having this weekly meeting helps us to talk about them.”

Katie Gampietro Burke, CFP at Wealth by Empowerment, also advocates regular check-ins. Even though she primarily handles their finances, she and her husband sit down every Saturday to talk through things such as how much they’re spending, how their bills are paid, or where they want to put any extra income for the month. She recommends scheduling it in at a specific time each week so it becomes a natural part of your routine.

Understand your partner’s money philosophy

Understanding how your partner developed their philosophy toward money is crucial in finding common ground and developing compromises that work for both of you. Was money tight when they were growing up? Had they been deceived about money in a prior relationship? Has handling money been an issue for them in the past?

“If you get those stories back and forth, often it’s easier for partners to understand one another,” McNulty says.

McNulty gives the example of a minister’s daughter who grew up with very little and was made fun of by her classmates for the way she dressed. Once she was out on her own, she developed an interest in fashion and started purchasing more expensive clothing to counterbalance the issues she dealt with as a child. She conflated dressing nicely with doing well in life and feeling connected to others, McNulty explained. But to her money-conscious husband, her spending just seemed irresponsible. Only once she opened up about her history was her husband able to understand and compromise on a higher clothing budget.

Reflect on your own money philosophy

As much as you need an open mind to grapple with your partner’s views on money, you need to fully understand your own bias as well. Taking the time to think through why you hold certain beliefs when it comes to money and where those ideas stem from will help you identify exactly where you differ from your partner.

“I think that it really can be very helpful if people know their individual relationship with money and why they spend the way they spend, and why they save the way they save, and what’s behind all that in terms of their life story and their needs and their goals and everything like that,” McNulty says. “That prepares them to have the dialogue with one another.”

Respect your partner’s decisions

No couple will agree on every single decision. Everyone has different priorities, and part of operating within a partnership is to respect your partner’s choices. That includes keeping an open mind if your spouse’s spending habits differ from your own.

“Don’t judge what your spouse spends their money on,” Pamela Capalad, CFP and founder of Brunch and Budget, told Business Insider. “If you truly think your partner has a spending problem, then it’s time to have an honest and loving conversation with them. If you’re just annoyed that they spent money on something that you would never spend money on, then take a step back, take a breath, and give your partner the benefit of the doubt.”

For some couples, this means adding personal discretionary funds to the monthly budget that each spouse can use for whatever they want, no questions asked.

“It’s knowing what the other person is spending on or saying, ‘Hey, this other person has $200 a month that I don’t know what they’re spending on, and that’s ok.’ It’s being ok and trusting that other person that they can spend their money on whatever,” Pam Horack, CFP and “Your Financial Mum” at Pathfinder Planning LLC, told Business Insider.

Create a support system

Couples don’t have to tackle their money issues alone. A financial planner can help them make sense of all the numbers, while a therapist can help them address any deeper issues simultaneously brought up.

“First and foremost what I recommend to couples, especially if they’re noting different approaches to finances, is to get some couples counseling — besides getting some good financial counseling — before they get married so they can begin to learn how to dialogue about such an important issue,” McNulty says.

For information on how you can separate and divorce with or without court please contact our office  – 03 9620 0088 or email

Conflict management: you and your former partner

July 5, 2017

Conflict can be incredibly unproductive and harmful for children’s wellbeing. The following article by Raising Children Network looks at how parents can resolve conflict with their former partner with straight forward tips.   Children are good at adapting when their parents separate, but ongoing conflict between parents can really hurt them. It’s important that you and your […]

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Helping children adjust after separation or divorce

June 29, 2017

It’s normal for children to feel unsettled if you’re going through separation or divorce. The following article by Raising Children Network looks at how you can help your child cope and adjust by talking honestly with your child, reassuring your child, sticking with family routines, and making special time for your child. Talking to your child about […]

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Money mistakes that ruin marriage

June 21, 2017

It’s no surprise that different financial views in a relationship can cause friction between partners. The following article by finance expert David Koch (News Corp Australia) highlights key financial discussions every couple should have sooner rather than later. Money mistakes that ruin marriage By David Koch (News Corp Australia) July 14, 2014 IF you and your partner […]

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How to Determine if a Prenuptial Agreement is Right for You

June 14, 2017

Whether to enter into a prenuptial agreement or not is a very personal decision. Each individual and couple is unique. Therefore, you should base your decision on your own unique circumstances. Review the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements and then read through the steps below to help you decide if a prenuptial agreement is right […]

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De Facto Should We Register Our De Facto Relationship?

June 8, 2017

Registering A De Facto Relationship Registration is not required in order for a de facto relationship to be recognised. The advantage with a registered relationship is that it dispenses with proof of the existence of the relationship. De facto relationships are already recognised in Australia by virtue of legislation. Just like a married couple, de […]

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How to Talk to Your Children about Divorce

May 30, 2017

Children at varied developmental levels naturally have a different understanding of divorce, the reasons for it, and what the future will bring. Parents will therefore need to tailor discussions according to their children’s maturity. Parents of young children should maintain routines, provide consistency in rules and expectations, and provide extra affection. Provide young children with […]

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4 Ways People Sabotage Their Breakups

May 23, 2017

The following article by Jill P. Weber Ph.D. is an interesting look at how some people may sabotage the end of their relationship and how that can impact them during and after the separation. 4 Ways People Sabotage Their Breakups By Jill P. Weber Ph.D. , May 18, 2017 via A breakup is not a singular event. What follows […]

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8 Strategies for Helping Kids Adjust to a Divorce

May 16, 2017

Divorce is not easy for parents or kids. Everyone in the family feels a tremendous sense of loss and anxiety. The family as they know it, will no longer be the same. In order for parents to be of the best help to their kids, they need to work with their own emotions, especially a […]

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