Divorce, separation, parenting plan reviews

Not all relationships will last a lifetime, despite your best intentions. It is possible to separate with respect and dignity for all those concerned, particularly if you have children together (or step children to consider).

I have many years of experience working with separating couples. I facilitated the Parenting Through Separation course (run through the Family Court) for two years when I worked for Relationship Services (who then became Relationships Aotearoa, before closing down). I have access to printed resources the Family Court produced then, and currently, to assist parents in this process. This includes:

  1. managing transitions from household to household

  2. how to talk to the children

  3. answering difficult questions

  4. talking to extended family/whānau

  5. introducing new partners/relationships

  6. what the children need first and foremost

  7. protecting children from conflict

  8. children need their parents to help them through the tough times

  9. getting on as separated parents, and

  10. communication as separated parents.

The Family Court, up until 1 April 2014, funded up to six counselling sessions for couples working on their relationship, or separating and making arrangements for children. This was replaced by the Family Dispute Resolution Mediation (FDR) service, which is largely a user pays service. Even if you engage with the FDR, the Family Court will encourage you to work out the best solutions for your children, as you are usually best placed to do so.

I will work with you to find the best solution for you as a couple. If you have children to consider, it is very important to put your feelings about your former partner aside, and focus on what the children need as a top priority. This can be extremely difficult to do, and that's one area where I can help.

If there are no dependent children to consider, I will support one or both of you through your individual grief journeys, so that you can come through the process resilient and (hopefully) wiser.

Review of parenting plans

The parenting plan that was put in place when you separated may need reviewing. Your children will have grown, you will now be settled in your respective homes, and you may be in a better position to share care than you were in the beginning.

I can review any written documents that you wish to present to your children's other parent, so that it comes across in the most collaborative way possible. It's important to keep emotional language, accusations and labels out of any writing, so that it doesn't contaminate your former partner's ability to understand your request for change. Because you are emotionally invested in the outcome, it can be difficult for you to use neutral language. My hourly rate for individual sessions applies to this service.