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Separation/divorce ARTICLES


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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW



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  2. Many topics listed below are available as Video Clips

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1 Assessments and Impression Management Child custody and access assessments differ substantially from voluntary counselling...
2 Understanding Collaborative Team Models As Collaborative Family Practice evolves as a potent system for dispute resolution in the context of separation and divorce, how service is organized can affect outcome... 
3 A Race To Settle May Leave You Short To concentrate on both short and long term interests, use these professionals...
4 Separating from an Abusive Partner Use caution leaving and developing separation agreements... 
5 Right of First Refusal Parents, if you are fighting over this, you may not like this article...
6 Introducing New Partner Too Fast, Too Soon

Children need time to adjust to parents' separation before introducing new partners. 

Introduce too soon, risk fallout.

7 When Not To See Kids In Counselling At certain point in a custody/access dispute, counselling for children may prove harmful...
8 Moving After a Separation Will your children adjust?
9 Finding a Professional Strategies for finding the right kind of helper in your community 
10 Domestic Violence and Power Imbalances  Has your service provider been trained yet?

Children’s Mental Health and Intervention in View of Domestic Violence, Parental Alcoholism and Parental Separation

What doctors, lawyers and others should know to help kids

(a lengthy article)


Backdoor Assessments and Counselling in The Middle Of Custody and Access Disputes

Sneaky and not advised.
13 Parenting Plan Considerations There are many things to consider in a parenting plan...

Divorcing? Preserve Your Assets and Relationships with Cooler Heads

Even if your marriage ended badly, your divorce doesn't have to.
15 Family Professional Support Through the Separation/Divorce Process Knowing certain risk factors may prompt you to seek help...
16 Considering a Parenting Coordinator? Experience is one only one aspect of what to look for...
17 Forget Harmony, Settle for Peace It is a mistake trying to get high-conflict parents to get along. Here's what to do instead...
18 Separating? How will you manage the process?...
19 From Position To Interest While Managing Adjustment   Helping separated parents sort out a parenting plan...
20 A Tale of Two Cities and Parent Alienation Syndrome Same problem can get two very different responses...
21 Which is Better, Blue or Green? It's not the colour you chose, but the fight that continues after a side is picked...
22 Even Court Orders Aren’t Cast in Stone Perhaps you can... But should you?
23 Parenting Coordinator in the Province of Ontario New legislation impacts on the process of Parenting Coordination in Ontario. Read how...
24 Even Lawyers Get the Blues Some things lawyers should consider when needing help themselves....
25 Settling Custody and Access Disputes…  Court, Counselling, Mediation, Parenting Coordinator: What’s the difference?
26 Reconciliation Counselling Repairing fractured relationships may need a "go forward" approach...
27 Improving  Eleventh Hour Agreements If you are going to reach an agreement at the eleventh hour, better make sure it's workable. Here's how to improve the odds.
28 How important is consistency really? Quite frankly... second fiddle to conflict
29 Divorce of Low-Conflict Parents and Kids Don't kid yourself, even if you are low-conflict, your children can be seriously affected.
30 Attention Divided by Divorce If you think ADD is Attention Deficit Disorder, then read this article... Particularly if you are in the middle of a high-conflict separation or divorce.
31 Normal Childhood Behaviour Misconstrued

Abuse? Neglect? Parental alienation?

Maybe just normal childhood behaviour...

32 What do I call you? Separated and starting a new family? So what do the children call you?
33 After separation, what about the kids? Settling child custody matters can be made easier. This may help.
34 Whose Day Is It Today??? New Internet services help parents keep track of schedules, communications and more - a real service to those in conflict...
35 Credible Data in Child Custody and Access Disputes Those affidavits you've been collecting may work against you...
36 Let Go To Win - Child Custody Custody battles are kinda like monkey traps. Here's a way out...

Can a child choose which parent to live with?

At what age can a child decide who they live with?
38 How Do You Rate Your Separation Parental conflict during separation can be categorized as low, medium and high...
39 Parental Separation: Who do you see? Friend? Lawyer?... How about a social worker!
40 An Affair is No Way to End a Marriage If you don 't think an affair will play into separation, Child custody and access issues, then read this...

Separated parents in dispute:

Don’t drag in your service providers!

That letter of support you asked for... could cause you trouble. Here's why...
42 What is Child Custody? Child Custody refers to the legal right to make decisions...
43 Imagine… A Collaborative Approach To Divorce Looking for an alternative way to resolve disputes without the threat of Court? Check this out...
44 Child Custody/Access Dispute and Choice of Lawyer The lawyer you choose and and their approach to settlement can affect your kids...
45 Kids of Separated Parents: The Annual Holiday Access Dispute Have you settled your holiday plans yet? Consider this advice...
46 A funny thing happened on the way to trial… There is more to choosing an assessor than their professional credentials...
47 Children and Parents Adjust to Separation With all the attention on the kids, what about the adjustment parents make to their separation...
48 Parenting Plans From a Kid’s Eye View Kids often know how close their parents can be to each other. The level of conflict is the key...
49 Absent Parent Returns, Active Parent in Turmoil This article discusses issues and strategies to manage the return of an absent parent who demands access.
50 High Heat, the Assessment and then Court… Some disputes go all the way. If this sounds like your situation, you are now at the will of the Court.
51 A Foot in Two Families Your eldest is from a prior relationship and now s/he wants more time with the other parent... What do you do?
52 Who Started It Doesn’t Necessarily Matter! Who started the conflict matters less than how to go forward. Remember the Wizard of Oz?
53 Keeping A Child Away From The Other Parent Can Backfire Separated parents who undermine their child's relationship to the other parent wind up hurting their child and themselves. Here's how...
54 Need Help Sorting Out A Parenting Plan? Here are the four strategies available to parents...
55 What’s a kid to do when parents hate each other? What to do when parents despise each other and the child is caught in the middle...
56 Mediating Child Behaviour Problems Between Separated Parents – A Case Scenario A child of separated parents acts up at school. Each parent blames the other. Child custody is now in dispute...
57 Settling Child Custody And Access Cases Want to settle more cases? Change your language and move from position to interest. Here's what it's about...
58 Parents Have Input Until The Gavel Comes Down You may not like the assessment recommendations, but you have time to settle before the gavel comes down...
59 Recently separated? Practice As if Parenting Some parents give in to their guilt, others feel they have to compete with the shower of gifts as the other parent tries to buy the relationship with the kids. What's a parent to do? This article will tell you!
60 Parallel Parenting – A form of joint custody When you can't play with, but can play beside... Parallel parenting may be for you.
61 Are you sure you need to go to Court? In some high conflict cases, need isn't the issue. It's irreconcilable parental values - wants. Court may be necessary...
62 Step Away From The “C” Word! The quickest way to escalate conflict between separated parents is with the "C" word. Here is some alternative language to use...
63 Blended family/Kids in distress: What to do? Things were going well. Then one parent remarries, a new family emerges and the kids are in distress. Here's what to do...
64 Divorced? Have a 100% relationship with your kids It's the relationship that counts, not the 50/50 split. Here's what makes the 100% relationship with your kids following divorce.
65 Divorce: What if court wasn’t an option? First came litigation, then mediation... now it's Collaborative Law. Inroads to settling divorce without going to court.
66 Collaborative Law and Social Work In marriages we speak of "goodness-of-fit". The same holds true of some professions. This article looks at the relationship between Collaborative Law and Social Work

Parenting Coordinator:

An alternative to running back to Court

If issue after issue keeps taking you back to Court, then consider this service.
68 Assessment Critique: Hired gun or dispassionate opinion If you are going to use an assessment critique, make sure the evaluation is credible. Here's how.
69 Treading on Sacred Ground Some parents who are undergoing separation or divorce involve their child’s daycare or school in their conflict. This article advises against this and offers suggestions to help.

Children and Divorce:

The Role of the Early Childhood Educator 

This article instructs Early Childhood Educators and childcare providers how to manage issues arising from custody and access matters. 

Getting Kids Out Of The Cross Fire

High conflict parenting battles hurt children. Here are some tips in the interest of the children.

High Conflict Divorce: Mediating Parenting Plans

When parents are determined to fight, mediation can be a challenge. Here's what's involved.
73 Critiquing Child Custody and Access Assessments

What if you think your custody and access  assessment is wrong? 

This article discusses "assessment critiques".

74 Process Issues in Child Custody and Access Assessments This article describes that HOW a child custody and access assessment is conducted is as important as what is reported to the integrity of the report.
75 Access and the adolescent: Issues on both sides of the fence Adolescence brings it's own issues to access and residence. Parents need to be flexible and honest to manage the changes.
76 Restricted Access? Consider the long term...

Parents with restricted access may need help directing their attention and activities to develop relationships for the long term. This article offers suggestions. 


Parenting Plan Worksheet

Separated/divorced? Can't sort out the care of your children? Use this parenting plan worksheet to help discuss and develop a parenting plan! 


Check out that Counselor

Looking for a good counselor? Ask these questions...


Child Custody and Access

This article describes custody and access assessments and what is involved.


Child-up Parenting Plan

What if a parenting plan was developed from the kid's perspective?


Helping Separated Parents Communicate

Can't get along well enough to communicate effectively. Try this...


Inconsistent Parental Access

What to do when the access parent doesn't show up...


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