Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Child- Inclusive Mediation, Co-Mediations



Separation is a very emotional and distressing time, and it is painful to feel like you are also losing ‘the family’ and ‘time’ with your children. Expert guidance from a clinical psychologist trained in parent and infant mental health and child and adolescent psychiatry ensures you know your child, their needs, and the best steps forward to manage this transition and enhance the quality of your relationship with your child, mitigate risk, and contain distress and conflict. Parenting matters differ from financial matters, and time spent with your child is not based on a percentage of their childhood. The CIM provides a space to understand each parent’s needs and circumstances to assist with focusing on your child’s individual and unique needs to build quality, sustaining and respectful relationships. Modelling respectful relationships will provide the best opportunities for your child’s social, emotional, psychological and cognitive development.

Family Court is not the place to resolve parenting disputes or family conflicts, and it will not resolve child-related issues. Dr Franks provides an alternative model of care for children and families to contain conflict and reduce childhood adversity and risk factors for children.

What is child child-inclusive mediation?

Child-inclusive mediation (CIM) is a supportive intervention and process designed to assist high-conflict families during the stages of separation. This child-focused approach combines the expertise of two specialist mediators, one as the mediator and the other brings the expert knowledge of the intersect between mental health, the law and child development. Dr Franks is both an Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FRDP) and a clinical psychologist,  with eight years of expert experience working across the Courts: Federal and Family Court, Magistrates Court and Children’s Court with high-conflict families.

Additionally, Dr Franks has worked with infants, children and families for the last 28 years and has been in private practice for the last 18 years; working therapeutically and empathically with children and their families.

Dr Franks is available to  provide co-mediations and a CIM facilitate mediation model to provide both a child and family-focused approach in the context of the developmental and ‘best interest of the child’, with an understanding of the child’s needs, Family Law Act and Care and Protection Act.

A CIM approach aims to prevent families from entering the legal system. Sadly, for families in Court, often after years of litigation, extensive costs and toxic stress, the issues that led to the separation remain unresolved, and families and children experience cumulative adversity during Court proceedings, needing therapeutic intervention after the finalisation of Court proceedings. A CIM model is a cost-effective and supportive process that can be accessed at intervals over the developmental milestone and lifecycle of the family post-separation. Families may choose to return for CIM over periods of time as the child’s needs and circumstances change over the years.

A’ Child-Inclusive’ approach means being acutely aware of the child’s needs and prioritising their well-being throughout the entire process post-separation. Dr Franks works with a selective panel of mediators to provide a facilitative child-inclusive mediation model, which is a supportive framework to explore options available in formulating a parenting plan that is safe and obtainable. In the process, Dr Franks assists parents to spend time with children in a safe and supportive family system and also considers safety and risk factors, the best interests of the child, the parent’s relational capacity, children’s temperament, and relationships within the family system.

Dr Franks has extensive experience in working with high-conflict families both within and external to the Court, working therapeutically, providing continuity of care and an insight-oriented, relational accroach to working with children and families during transitions. Her experience from working across the Court over the last eight years provides expert knowledge to assist with option generation or single expert witness determinations/ recommendations within a legal framework. She aims to keep the parents’ and family’s integrity intact without further systemic pressures and costs of Court processes. The model provides a cost effective, child focused approach to parenting post separation in order to contain and prevent adversity over children’s childhood.

Dr Franks is trained and experienced in assessing risk, domestic and family violence, intimate partner violence, parenting capacity, neurodiversity, vulnerable parties and children with complex issues and special needs children to formulate solutions and outcomes within each unique family. Dr Franks can assist families over the family life cycle, during transitions or changes to ‘who in my family’, by providing continuity of care and exploring options, solutions and psychoeducation to redefine how the family system will be reframed and separation redefined as a new beginning.

Psychoeducation and preparing for FDRP

Finding a FDRP that can work with you, your family, and your children (if you choose CIM) can assist with barriers and resistance to change, and moving towards and reaching parenting agreements for children. Sometimes, children find it difficult to go between homes and experience a range of emotions about their parents being separated, such as anger, anxiety and guilt. Working with you child as parents to prioritise the needs of the child and how to assist all parties navigate the new normal in the family and navigate developmental processes throughout childhood.

Helping you as parents resolve conflicts and be able to communicate effectively will be one of the most important predictors of your child’s adjustment to the separation. Helping you develop parenting plans and having parent sessions to facilitate helpful ways of communicating and resolving ruptures and misunderstanding is important to see what is possible with co-parenting and living separately.


 There are important changes to be made to resolve conflict in the direction of greater tolerance and acceptance.

 Practices facilitating reflection and dialogue, even those from opposite sides (opposite views), can help people see the other ‘not as an enemy’ or ‘opponent to be attacked or victimised’, but as another human being capable of feelings like themselves.

 We have the tools for resolving conflict. Unfortunately, there are still too many people and too many situations in which those who feel slighted or humiliated and prefer to go into hate mode and if they have power over others, it can so easily set up the very vicious cycles of trauma and its transmission through the generations.


Dr Franks has had a psychotherapy practice since 2006, providing long-term therapy and also brief, focused psychological strategies and solutions. She sees clients nationally and provides  continuity of care to clients who have experienced trauma and adversity, creating space and for clients to see, bear and face difficult states of mind and emotional experiences through understanding, listening and containment. She assists with attachment and resistance in knowing, allowing, accepting, and acknowledging their own feelings and ability to regulate emotions, which have often led to repeated difficulties and patterns in relationships. The therapeutic process aims to build self-confidence and developing a stable sense of self and capacity for regulating emotions and respectful, healthy relationships.

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Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Child- Inclusive Mediation, Co-Mediations


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G Dip (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner), College of Law

Accredited Practitioner Attorney- General’s Department

B Bus (Human Resources), B Arts (Organsational Psychology)

Cert (Developmental Psychiatry)

G Dip (Prof. Psych.), G Dip (Parent Infant Mental Health)

M Psy (Clinical Psy), PhD,