Parenting Coordination Victoria

Supporting parents to develop a co-parenting relationship following separation

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What Is Parenting Coordination?

Parenting Coordination is a post-separation child-focused dispute resolution process.

Parenting Coordination is suitable for separated parents who:

  • Continue to have high levels of dispute regarding their children after the making of a Parenting Plan or Family Court Order (interim and final)

  • Are transitioning from adversarial parenting to co-parenting

  • Engage their children to express their dispute 

  • Experience difficulty with relationships

  • Are at risk of:

    • Not complying with the Parenting Plan or Family Court Order (interim and final)​

    • Returning to the Family Court to re-litigate their dispute.

Parenting Coordination may assist separated parents who are experiencing difficulty:

  • Co-parenting their children

  • Making joint decisions about their children

  • Communicating effectively with each other

  • Implementing their Parenting Plan or Family Court Order (interim and final)

  • Complying with their Parenting Plan or Family Court Order (interim and final).

A Parenting Coordinator may be jointly appointed by the parents or a Family Court Order.

A Parenting Coordinator is usually appointed for 24 months with monthly joint meetings.

The purpose and role of the Parenting Coordinator is defined within the Parenting Plan or Family Court Order.

​A Parenting Coordinator assists parents by:

  • Faciliting the resolution of their disputes in a timely manner

  • Reducing conflict between parents so as to protect the children from exposure to conflict

  • Educating parents about their children's needs

  • Making recommendations for resolving disputes

  • Case management.

Parenting Coordination is non-confidential and fully reportable to the Family Court​.

Parenting Coordinators are experienced family lawyers and psychologists who have also received training in Parenting Coordination.

Safety concerns are addressed during Parenting Coordination.

Fees are set by individual Parenting Coordinators.

If you would like to know more about Parenting Coordination or have a client whom you believe may benefit from the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator, please contact one of our Parenting Coordinators listed below.

Our Parenting Coordinators

Each of our Parenting Coordinators is trained and complies with the Family Law Act 1975 and AFCC Parenting Coordination Guidelines
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Vanessa Mathews

Vanessa Mathews is the founding director of Mathews Family Law and Mediation Specialists, a boutique firm located in Toorak.

 

She has the rare combination of commerce and social work qualifications and experience, combined with more than 20 years’ experience as a lawyer, FDRP, mediator and parenting coordinator; it makes her approach to resolving legal relationship issues both sensible and sensitive.

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Sue Adams

Sue is a registered psychologist with over 2o years of experience in working with high conflict separated families.  She also has a particular interest in trauma and has a post-graduate Certificate in Developmental Trauma.  She is also interested in working with families where there are resistance/refusal dynamics. 


Sue worked for six years as a Family Consultant with the Family Court, both in Melbourne and in Townsville.  She now has a private practice, Prosper Psychology, in which she undertakes family assessments, works therapeutically with separated parents and children, and most recently, developed a therapeutic contact program.  Sue’s previous experience includes working in Children’s Contact Services, the Parenting Orders Program and the development of group programs for children from separated families.  


Sue is passionate about workable outcomes for separated families, with a focus on the best interests of the children. She is aware of the challenges faced by parents and children when navigating the process of separation and is eager to assist parents in Parenting Coordination to build a healthy co-parenting alliance for the benefit of their children. 

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Mary Louise Hatch

Mary Louise is a Collaborative Family Lawyer, Nationally Accredited Mediator, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and Parenting Coordinator. 


Mary Louise works with families, whether together or separating, to help them make decisions about their personal and financial relationships and stay away from court. 


Mary Louise has been a Lawyer since 1991 and has worked almost exclusively in Family Law. In 2008, Mary Louise undertook Mediation and Family Dispute Resolution training before commencing an internship as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner with Relationships Australia. In 2019, Mary Louise became one of Australia’s first Parenting Coordinators.


Mary Louise also provides mediation and dispute resolution training and coaching for as Resolution Institute, Relationships Australia, College of Law and RMIT’s Juris Doctor Program. Mary Louise also lectures in Professional Legal Training with the College of Law and Family Law in the Juris Doctor Program at RMIT where she has PhD equivalence in Law.

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Larissa Goldberg

Larissa is the director of Goldberg Family Law Mediation and a co-founder of The FDR Collective.  She is a Family Lawyer, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Nationally Accredited Mediator and Parenting Coordinator. 

In 1991, Larissa commenced her legal career.  Since 2004, she has worked exclusively in family law, including for 13 years at a first-tier boutique firm in Melbourne. 

Larissa understands the complexities of parenting matters and working with high conflict individuals and families.

Drawing upon her qualifications, experience and skills, she takes a problem-solving and child-focused approach.  Parent education, including child development, communications and conflict resolution, are essential tools for future problem-prevention and harm minimisation.

A keen educator, Larissa is an adjunct lecturer at the College of Law.

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Vanessa Simon

Vanessa is the principal of Vanessa Simon Mediation and co-founder of the FDR Collective. Vanessa is a family lawyer, registered family dispute resolution practitioner (FDRP) with 14 years experience, nationally accredited mediator and trained Parenting Coordinator.

Vanessa commenced her legal career in 1991 specializing in family law. In 2008 she obtained a post graduate diploma in family law mediation and commenced training as an FDRP at the family mediation centre in Moorabbin. In 2009 she attained her accreditation as an FDRP and commenced a private which she continues to run.

As an FDRP Vanessa has extensive experience in dealing with parental conflict arising from difficulties in communicating and co-parenting after separation and divorce. She understands that conflict does not necessarily resolve once a parenting plan or parenting order has been made. Parenting Coordination is a constructive process that assists separated parents work towards positive co-parenting by improving parental communication and focusing on the best interests of the child. This in turn will protect children from the potential damage caused by entrenched parental conflict.

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Tania Fitzpatrick

I’ve gone through separation and now have a blended family who mean the world to me. All separations are different and we all manage it differently but I understand what you’re going through – I saw the impact on my own kids, and I also experienced my own parent’s conflict.

I’ve watched my own daughter’s separation be an amicable and friendly one and my granddaughter’s world is free of the stress and anxiety which kids experience when their parents stay in a circle of conflict.

I’m very ‘real’ in my approach to life and families. I’ve done it tough as a single mum, stuck in there and studied because I always knew that I wanted to help other people get through their rough times.

I’ve been working with families experiencing challenges and trauma for the past 15 years, specialising as a family separation counsellor for children and parents. Step by Step is a crystallisation of what I care about deeply; that even in challenging situations kids can have a healthy childhood, supported by their parents. It motivates me to come to work each day.

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Angela Cowen

Angela is the founding Mediator, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and trained Parenting Co-ordinator at Mediator Hub. Angela is admitted as an Australian Lawyer at the Supreme Court of Victoria however prefers to work independently as an alternative dispute resolution specialist for matters arising from family and commercial disputes. Angela successfully completed the Master of Laws (Applied Law) majoring in Family Dispute Resolution Practice and is one of only a limited number of practitioners who has successfully completed this highly regarded legal qualification.  Angela has over 30 years experience in parenting, people management and adult coaching including as Director and Head of Training and Assessment at Registered Training Organisations.

Angela draws upon her expertise in alternative dispute resolution to exercise a pragmatic approach to her role as a parenting co-ordinator providing a stabilising presence during the adjustment period. She assists parents with a history of high conflict to implement their parenting plan or orders while they learn to transition from partners to co-parents.

 

Angela acknowledges that a balance needs to be struck to help support and coach parents to rewrite the narrative; refocus on the children’s social, emotional wellbeing and development; and to reclaim the future as co-parents.
 

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Jane Libbis

Jane is a partner at Umbrella Family Law and Umbrella Family Support where they work with family law clients to help them start their new lives with dignity and respect. As a long-time step-parent, Jane personally understands the twists and turns of the post-separation journey and has watched children adapting to new arrangements. In addition to her Law and Arts degrees, Jane has a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and enjoys working empathically with her clients.

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