Learning & events

PDG event | How to assist parents and lawyers to be child focused in family mediations

with Donna Cooper, Denise Britton and Dr. April O'Mara

Thursday 25 July 2019 | Brisbane

Under section 60D of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) both FDRPs and lawyers have obligations to focus parents on the best interests of their children. So what does "best interests " mean in terms of future parenting arrangements and what strategies can we as FDRPs use to ensure that parents work towards arrangements that will be appropriate for their children?

In this panel discussion, April O'Mara, Denise Britton and Donna Cooper will discuss some strategies including asking parents to set some overarching goals, looking at the needs of children based on their ages, referring to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and other visual aids.

About the presenters

Donna Cooper is a senior lecturer in the Queensland University of Technology Law Faculty and teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. She conducts mediation courses that satisfy the FDRP and national mediation accreditation requirements for QUT and outside providers. Donna is an experienced FDRP and also mediates in workplace and health matters.

Denise Britton is a Psychologist and Director of Britton Psychological Services. She is also Co-Principal with Mike Emerson of Brisbane Mediations, a dedicated mediation firm in New Farm. Denise’s experience as a social worker, psychologist and mediator has been wide ranging. She managed a large team of psychologists for many years to provide Employee Assistance Counselling across South East Queensland, had twenty years’ service on regional parole boards and the Queensland Parole Board, was a member of the Government Panel of Assessors for Psychologists appearing before the Health Practitioners’ Tribunal and enjoyed several years as an Approved Trainer for Independent Children’s Lawyers. Currently, she maintains a counselling practice and sits on the CSIRO Human Research Ethics Committee. Denise has been mediating since Legal Aid first introduced their conferencing programme and, through Brisbane Mediations, continues to work as an FDRP as well as a mediator for work place, estate and other relationship disputes.”

Dr April O'Mara
PhD, Post Grad Dip Psych, LLB, BA Justice Studies

Dr. O’Mara is a registered Psychologist, Reg 7 Family Report Writer and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. She specialises in working with children, young people and parents who are experiencing relationship issues, family conflict and separation. Dr. O’Mara has worked in the Family Court as a Family Consultant and was the Senior Family Consultant for National Professional Development. Her PhD examined ways to enhance Family Dispute Resolution to improve outcomes for separated families. April's background in both law and psychology provide a unique understanding of the needs of clients in the family law system.

Thanks to Holding Redlich for generously supporting this event.