On November 30, 2020, the AGF held an expert discussion entitled “Family support and child-centeredness in conflict situations, separation processes and divorce proceedings”. Scientists, family lawyers, representatives of youth welfare offices, counseling centers and family associations were involved. The expert discussion focused on the question of how successful the structures of psychosocial support services and court proceedings are with regard to conflict reduction in separation processes.
In the first part of the expert discussion, three keynote speeches illuminated the topic from different perspectives:
Dr. Stefan Rücker, head of the PETRA research group, gave an overview of separation events in Germany and the associated challenges.
Gesine Götting, head of the counseling center for parents, children and adolescents of the district of Peine and 2nd chairwoman of the bke spoke from the perspective of family counseling about four dimensions of separation conflicts.
Dr. Kerstin Niethammer-Jürgens, specialist lawyer for family law, discussed the role of lawyers and whether court proceedings are suitable for children and parents.
The second part focused on the exchange among the experts. The main questions of the discussion were:
- How successful are the structures and measures of psychosocial support services and court proceedings with regard to conflict reduction in the separation process and child-centeredness?
- How well does the cooperation between the professional extrajudicial and judicial actors work? What are the consequences for the affected families?
- How well are the existing supportive measures suited to specifically deal with different types of conflict in separation processes?How can the interests of children be adequately considered in judicial proceedings but also in mediation and counseling?
- What needs to be done? What political demands can be derived from the findings for family organizations?
In November, the AGF had already held three international webinars in cooperation with the ICCFR. Experts from Europe, America and Asia gave an insight into how they support families in separation processes.
The expert discussion was moderated by Ulrich Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman of the AGF and Chairman of the Family Federation of Catholics.