Shared Parenting can work even if there is conflict between separated parents, but court action to resolve conflict can often lead to an escalation of the dispute. Many countries around the world have considered or begun to implement dispute resolution processes that can help parents to avoid court or transfer court action into a problem solving process.
The videos below – including our ‘World Series’ of webinars from 2022 – provide more information on these initiatives around the world that Scotland might look to for inspiration.
International developments in resolving family disputes outside of court
In August 2023, Natalia Rucka prepared a report and presented a talk on behalf of Shared Parenting Scotland on international developments that aid in resolving family dispute outside of court and how these may benefit the Scottish family law system.
SPS World Series: California, USA. Training separated parents to reach agreement and avoid court action.
Lawyer, therapist, and mediator Bill Eddy from the High Conflict Institute discusses the New Ways For Families® (NWFF) training programme for separated parents, which is now being used in the USA, Canada and Australia and now also available to separated or separating parents in Scotland.
SPS World Series: Toronto, Canada. Parenting Coordinators supporting parents to resolve disputes and avoid court
Toronto-based mediator and parenting coordinator Elizabeth Hyde discusses Parenting Coordination, which is a child-focused dispute resolution process for high conflict parents with a history of ongoing child disputes who are likely to need help implementing the terms of their parenting plans. It combines dispute assessment, conflict reduction, skills coaching, case management, mediation, parent education and arbitration. Elizabeth describes how parenting co-ordination works in Canada. Judith Higson, executive director and head of family law at Scullion Law, then discussed how might parenting co-ordination be used in Scotland.
SPS World Series: The Netherlands. Online systems to help separating parents reach agreement
Laura Kistemaker describes Uitelkaar.nl, the Dutch online divorce platform which helps you to make a parenting plan or a divorce plan, with or without mediation. She also commented on the previous Dutch Rechtswijzer scheme and why it didn’t succeed despite early promise. Rosanne Cubitt, Head of Practice for Family Mediation and Relationship Counselling at the Scottish charity Relationships Scotland, provided a Scottish response.
SPS World Series: Sweden. Benefits of shared parenting for children and young people
Malin Bergstrom, child psychologist at the Karolinka Institute in Stockholm, discusses her research into the impact of separation on children. Her research showed children in shared parenting to have lower levels of truanting (19%) than those in sole care of mothers (22%) or fathers (28%) and only slightly above children living with both parents (18%). Many other indicators of mental health and well-being show similar results.
SPS World Series: England and Wales. Changing the court processes in England and Wales.
Helen Adam, Chair of the Family Solutions Group which publishes the report ‘What about me? Reframing Support for Families following Parental Separation’, speaks about the changes that are happening in England and Wales following this work, restoring the child to the centre in systems that currently operate largely for parents. Amanda Masson, Partner and Head of the Family Law Team at Harper Macleod LLP, provides a Scottish response.
Changing the culture of divorce in Israel
At our event in the Scottish Parliament on the New Ways For Families training programme for separated parents, Michal Fein, family lawyer and mediator in Israel, spoke about efforts made there to change the culture of divorce.