School Law Series – Managing Separated Families

Bec DahlRebecca Dahl, Partner at Nicholes Family Lawyers talks about managing separated families in the school environment.


Divorce and separation has reached an all-time high in Australia. It is therefore unsurprising that schools regularly deal with the aftermath of separation and its impact on students and families.

Given their work directly intersects with family life, teachers are often exposed to issues arising in the context of family breakdown. Students are often part of blended families or the subject of parenting orders.

With this in mind, it is important that educators are equipped with the right training and knowledge to appropriately manage the circumstances they may be confronted with.

Common issues arising in the separation context which teachers must be familiar with include family law court orders, family violence intervention orders, and teachers’ rights and responsibilities when it comes to providing information to parents and third parties.

Regardless of the legal issue which may arise, it is not the school’s role to enforce court orders. Schools are not expected to act as mediator between parents.

It is essential that schools have the right safeguards, knowledge and procedures in place to best support their students. Training all staff members and people who will interact with students is integral.

This training should cover issues such as school collection and drop off, emergency healthcare, privacy, family violence intervention orders and communicating with parents.

Most importantly, schools must have an action plan protecting staff wellbeing and safety. With the right understanding and safeguards in place, schools can effectively manage separated families in the school environment.

If you missed Rebecca’s recent presentation, you can view the on-demand recording now by clicking here.

Bec is a seasoned family law expert and Partner at Nicholes Family Lawyers. Bec assists clients to achieve outcomes that work (practically, emotionally, financially) – across the full breadth of family law services. Bec is dedicated to: Helping the LGBTQI+ community navigate donor agreements, parenting disputes, property agreements and disputes, donor / surrogacy arrangements; Helping women before and after separation/divorce so they can live the best life they can – and to move onwards and upwards with confidence!; Helping grandparents build and maintain valuable and life changing connections with their grandchildren – wherever they are; Achieving outcomes that contain costs and risk, reduce anxiety and long-term damage; Representing clients on issues across the lifespan of a relationship: from binding financial agreements (BFAs) (or ‘’pre nups’’) to marriage to separation/divorce and spousal maintenance to child support. Bec approaches all her matters with a human, caring approach and with an understanding that reflects the complexity and anxiety that is often associated with family law issues. Clients rely on Bec for her compassionate yet robust approach in looking after their needs. She is trained as a Collaborative Practitioner and works hard to avoid costly and upsetting litigation unless it is needed. Connect with Bec via LinkedIn