Marguerite Picard Blog

Hi and welcome to my blog.

This blog is a free resource for you with the aim to educate and express opinions about collaborative family law, divorce, separation and child custody. All articles are informative and are up to date with current practices. Please enjoy reading and take care of yourself. - Marguerite.


Child Custody: When Parents ‘cannot communciate reasonably and civilly with each other at all’.

Child Custody | Family Court Decision

A recent decision of the Family Court decided that it was not in the best interests of a child for her parents to have joint responsibility for reaching decisions about major long-term issues with respect to the child. The decision that parents do not share responsibility for a child goes against the usual presumption, but is not entirely unusual. In cases where a court is satisfied that parents ‘just cannot and will not be able to’ jointly make decisions for their child or children, sole parental responsibility will be conferred on one parent or the other.

These cases present in the courts as disputes about proper arrangements for children. They are usually not focused on the best interests of children, but are a continuation of relational conflict. When parents are prepared to expose their high conflict behaviour to a Judge who is going to make decisions about their children, it is obvious that they either lack insight into their behaviour, or have no ability to modify it. When a judge witnesses a display of relational conflict between spouses, that presumably provides some window into the lives of the children who are likely to have or have had daily exposure to the conflict.

It goes without saying that the adversarial legal system entrenches this kind of conflict.  It is imperative that these disputes  are not seen by the system as disputes about children,  and that  the focus be shifted to the  parental conflict.  Addressing that conflict has the greatest prospect of being  a ‘best interests’ decision for children.  As it stands,  the  courts have limited options  to deal with this behaviour.  Orders can be made  about parental responsibility and the time children spend with parents.  Unfortunately, this is more about harm minimisation  than it is about addressing the real  problem.  With resources  and honesty  about what is really going on in these cases,  our society can surely do much better.

Child custody in divorce. Parents need to consider the children and collaborate.



Keeping Kids out of the Middle of your Separation

Separation Children Marriage Breakdown Separation is tough. It is especially tough for kids when their parents involve them in the details of the breakdown of the marriage relationship. I recently had a conversation with someone who works in a primary school. It was shocking to learn from her how common it is that children as young as eight and nine… Read more

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The end of homelessness or upgraded tennis facilties?

Homelessness The Need For Political Will The Melbourne Age today ran a front page story about homelessness, and the need for political will to spend money on accommodation and support to keep people in housing. The  funding sought by the Council to Homeless Persons for its ten year plan is said to be less than half of the amount just… Read more

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Talking to your Children after Separation and Divorce

Children the Transition after Divorce I have great admiration for the work of Rosalind Sedacca. The more I work with separating families, the deeper my commitment to the care of children in separating families, and the need for parents to receive support and education in their new role parenting across two households. As always, the article below contains Rosalind’s wisdom… Read more

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Christmas: A good time for all parents to think about their co-parenting style?

Children Do You Fit a Co-Parenting Style? This article is from the website of  Rosalind Sedacca, which is rich with information for parents. As always, I think the article is worth reading. What’s Your Co-Parenting Style — Cooperative, Parallel or Somewhere In-Between? by Cindy Harari, Esq. My Guest Author today is Cindy Harari, Esq. who offers a valuable perspective… Read more

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Lawyers It’s Not About You

Collaborating During Divorce I am reflecting on a busy week working collaboratively with clients who are in different stages of  separation. They have been variously distressed, sad, brave, angry, remorseful, forgiving, generous, but overwhelmingly respectful of each other and those supporting them. It is a great privilege to work with people in this way, and with my collaborative colleagues. On… Read more

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