Family Dispute Resolution and Mediation can help you find an outcome you can live wit

Separating Parents & Couples

Biggest Challenges

What are some of the biggest challenges for couples who are separating or who have separated?

Separation, divorce and family law present so many challenges for parties. Below is some information for you to consider.

For parenting matters:

Re-defining the new relationship 

You are no longer a couple, but you are a parent of a child who needs the most important people in their world to be as "good" as possible.

The way you were when you were together, does not automatically continue now that you are separated. Most parents haven't spoken about or agreed on what the new expectations and boundaries will be in their different kind of relationship now moving forward. Family Dispute Resolution and mediation services offer an opportunity to discuss this in a helpful and safe way.

What kind of co-parenting relationship are you hoping to achieve?

You will need to work with your child's parent for a very long time yet. What would you want your child to reflect back on when they think about their experience after your separation? 

Your child needs to see, hear, and feel that you both are able to talk and work together about him or her with as little conflict, awkwardness, and tension. It is that type of environment that can profoundly impact your child's experience. It is also possible that your child might even think they are the problem.

You are your own parents. You might have very different styles and opinions about how to raise your child. Now more than ever, you can choose to work together for your child's sake.

You don't have to parent the same way, you don't have to agree on each other's styles, but nevertheless, show your child you are still a united front so that your child can have consistency and stability and and added bonus, they won't be able to play you off each other.

Ongoing Conflict

Trying to maintain a "functioning" co-parenting relationship is so difficult when there is prolonged, bitter and unresolved conflict between you. Children can learn to cope with the separation - what they often cannot cope with is ongoing conflict and tension between the two people they love more than anything.

Children start to learn that they are better off saying, not saying, or doing things that they know won't upset their parents. Children learn to start keeping secrets - sometimes because a parent has told them too. 

Children just want to love you both in front of you both. Children maintain hope that everything will be OK and maybe get back to normal. 

Often parents are so consumed in their conflict, that children feel that they are basically forgotten because when they are with the parent, the parent is often focussing on the other parent.

Are you making it easy for your child to love you both?

For property settlement matters:

Validation and Acknowledgement

Issues of mistrust, not feeling validated and acknowledged for what you have contributed over the course of your relationship and what your needs are moving forward. This can be a very significant change for all parties. For some, it is very daunting. Setting up a new life as a sole parent, having to consider the possibility of re-training, or establishing some kind of foundation to help build a new way forward.

It is critical that parties obtain sound legal advice about how the law can be applied to their situation. Come into a mediation prepared and willing to consider both sides, but most importantly, having an idea of what you can live with.

It's all about the principle

Dealing with "it's all about principle" versus "can we just sort this out so we can move on?".

This type of thinking can often hinder a successful resolution within mediation.

How far are you prepared to push to get what you want? Why is that important to you?

Make sure you are clear about what you could be entitled to.

Don't just concede or given in out of fear or ignorance. Come into a mediation informed and now you actually don't have to concede. However, you can agree if you have reached that position in a voluntary and informed way.

It's not about being right... but can you live with it?

Reaching a financial resolution that you can live with and be at peace with. 300 lawyers will give you 300 different opinions. The Court will give you its opinion if you cannot find a resolution you both can agree on. Just make sure you take the time to get all the information, Full and Frank Disclosure, and have a helpful conversation.

This process is not about reconciling with your former partner, and it also isn't about counselling. What this process can do though is help you both to have a meaningful, controlled, and helpful conversation about not only your own needs, but the needs of your children, and to finally reach a point that you both can live with so that you can move on with your lives.

Info & Resources

Click the button below, to go to my Info & Resources page for useful information about:

  • the law;
  • separation;
  • families;
  • your children;
  • conflict; and
  • important information about the FDR process.


JD ROUSSETY Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner ("FDRP")

VGDFDR | GDLP | JD in Law | BA in Justice Studies | C4 Assessment & Workplace Training 

I own/operate CHOICE. I am an FDRP. I have worked in the legal and community legal sector since 1995. My main experience has been working with people who live and have lived with a multitude of issues and I have helped them in some shape or form to guide them through their often difficult separation, divorce and family law system in general, to the next phase of their situation.

Before I worked full-time in family dispute resolution and mediation, worked as a Family Lawyer. I worked in a busy private practice dealing with complex family law, child protection, and restraining order matters. I was in court every day and I have represented clients throughout the entire court process. As a lawyer, I am a person’s metal detector – guiding you through the family law minefield. More often than not though, you use a lawyer when you are already caught up in the minefield. Also as a lawyer I only acted for one person. Now I help both sides. I don't act for anyone. As a neutral 3rd party, I now help you both to make decisions that will keep you well clear of the minefield entirely. What's more, you will be making that decision together.

I am a massive believer in assisting separated couples to help them understand "Why?!". I believe you need to understand "the root" of your dispute otherwise issues will just probably resurface down the track like a weed growing back. Often separated couples avoid the core of what is driving the conflict - "Why are we always fighting?!" "Why can't she just listen to what I am trying to say?!" "Why can't he just acknowledge what he did to us?!". Often couples aren't ready to negotiate. Often one or both of the parties aren't able to move forward because of some past issue that they haven't sufficiently processed at that time. Sometimes separated couples would be better served if they were prepared to engage the services of a family counsellor - not to help them get back together, but to help them understand their situation better and develop meaningful strategies to help them move forward.


Where do you begin?! Please take a look at my Info & Resources page for useful information for parents and separated couples. If you need the help of a lawyer but don't know where to start, take a look at my Referrals page for details of lawyers, counsellors, and other related services you can approach to help you get started.

I acknowledge that it has taken a lot of courage to initiate this step. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have about this process. I very much look forward in assisting you and your family in this difficult phase of your relationship. I hope the FDR process helps you all to move forward.

More about CHOICE


CHOICE Family Dispute Resolution & Mediation is a Perth-based family dispute resolution service.

CHOICE has been created with the focus to assist separated parents and couples in the very difficult and emotional transition from a joint relationship, to coming to terms with the realities of now being in a separated relationship.

CHOICE specialises in assisting separated/separating parents and former partners with issues regarding the living arrangements and decision-making for their children and with the settlement of their financial affairs.

CHOICE has access to numerous networks within the community legal sector, mental health sector, private legal sector, relationships and counselling sector, and Legal Aid sector.

CHOICE gives you the opportunity to engage in genuine and meaningful conversation within a safe environment. An environment that gives you the opportunity to make informed decisions and to reach a resolution that is in your children's best interests and that you are prepared to live with.

Unless your circumstances require it, going to the Family Court should be your last resort. Family Court is a very protracted process, tremendously expensive (moreso if you have a lawyer acting for you), and a Judge or Magistrate will make a decision for you and your children whether you like it or not. 

CHOICE gives you the opportunity to voluntarily engage in a fast, balanced, fair, safe, and affordable process where any agreement that is reached is because you and your former partner, have chosen to do so together.