In Conversation with Gabriella Pomare and How She Shapes the Future of Co-Parenting through Her Brand, The Collaborative Co-Parent

Marriage, often portrayed as a fairy tale with a “happily ever after” ending, frequently faces a starkly different reality. Data from the United States National Center for Health Statistics reveal that while four to five million Americans tie the knot annually, a staggering 42-53% of these unions ultimately dissolve in divorce.

Divorce is a global phenomenon, with couples parting ways for a myriad of reasons. It is an emotionally turbulent and intricate process, particularly for families with children. However, as societal norms evolve, so too have the approaches to navigating the complexities of marriage dissolution and co-parenting.
Gabriella Pomare, an Australian-based family lawyer, co-parenting expert, and motivational speaker, champions progressive co-parenting methods. In an interview with The Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, Pomare shares her journey through separation and discusses her dignified and collaborative co-parenting approach through her platform, the Collaborative Co-Parent.

Gabriella, what inspired you to transition from a journalism career to becoming a family lawyer and ultimately founding The Collaborative Co-Parent?

As a family lawyer with a strong background in both journalism and law, my career has been dynamic and rewarding. Inspired by my father, who is also a family lawyer, I’ve always been driven to make a positive impact in family law, particularly in matters of separation and divorce.

I worked in journalism while studying law, writing for publications like Cosmopolitan and Take 5, then transitioned into law upon graduating. From the get-go, I wanted to experience family law at the coalface, so I began as an associate to a Justice of the Family Court of Australia. This role allowed me to see the best and worst from that side of the bench before moving to private practice.

I love the blend between journalism and law. Having personal experience in separation and co-parenting, I thought the best way I could assist people was to provide pragmatic, practical, real-life advice to separating couples. The Collaborative Co-Parent allows me to be creative while providing genuine support.

As someone who personally navigates co-parenting, how have your experiences shaped the services and support The Collaborative Co-Parent offers?

The best part of my advice and messages is that they are not necessarily based on the law or how a lawyer might approach the situation. I use my daily experiences to shed light on difficult situations and manage complex relationships. 

How do you handle the challenges of separated families, and how do you apply this approach to your clients at The Collaborative Co-Parent?

Separated or divorced parents today often lack practical resources to help them manage the early stages of a relationship breakdown, especially with children and cooperative co-parenting. Many newly divorced parents learn through trial and error and may feel too embarrassed to discuss their situation with friends and family.

There is too often an immediate focus on lawyers, court processes, and custody instead of how parents can work together and develop their own set of ‘rules’ for their new family. Divorce shouldn’t mean the breakdown of the family unit, but rather, it is the crossover from spouse to co-parent and allows for the possibility of a new personalized restructuring of the family unit – whatever that might mean for your family and your new relationship as now ex-spouses but future and forever co-parents.

The Collaborative Co-Parent provides a much-needed realistic and practical resource for parents who have separated and are seeking guidance about what’s next when it comes to parenting. Through my work with separated families – as well as my first-hand experience – it is evident to me that lawyers can’t provide all the answers, particularly when it comes to what is best for children and how to maintain a positive relationship with your ex through the conflict of separation.

The book I’m publishing will navigate a supportive pathway from the early stages of grief to decision-making and communication tips on rebuilding your separated family. This is the book separated parents won’t be able to put down at night – through the angst, the sadness, the unknown – this guide will be the go-to for practical assistance, reassurance, and ‘real’ advice to navigate the complexities of co-parenting.

In your view, what are the most common misconceptions about co-parenting after separation or divorce, and how does The Collaborative Co-Parent work to address these?

Many divorced couples believe that once they are separated, they are no longer a family. But this is not true. It is important to remember that although your family unit is no longer the same, it is still a family.  

Some also think that divorced parents can no longer co-exist. I believe that with the proper rules and tools in place, separated parents can still talk together, coexist (and hopefully even get on!). Learning to communicate and have positive dialogue effectively is often the first step. 

By implementing agreed rules and appropriate boundaries around your co-parenting relationship, you give your children the gift of safety, security, and stability following separation. The Collaborative Co-Parent provides this roadmap for separated families to navigate a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Could you elaborate on what fundamental principles or practices are essential for successful co-parenting post-divorce? How does this redefine the traditional co-parenting strategies? 

What is a Collaborative Co-Parent? If you are ending or have ended your marriage or relationship and have children, you probably lie in bed at night wondering, “What happens now?” “How do we both raise the kids?” “This feels complicated.”

Separation can be daunting, filled with trauma, stress, and challenges that obscure the future. After your separation, it’s crucial for you as parents to prioritize your children’s well-being and make decisions together that foster their healthy and happy development away from the trauma of divorce. You can co-parent more effectively by putting your children’s needs before anger and conflict.

What role does communication play in fostering a collaborative co-parenting environment, and how do you guide clients in developing effective communication strategies?

Effective communication is everything. I recently released a free e-book that walks parents through my four pillars of effective communication: listen, pause, reflect, and respond. As my e-book states, “Learning to communicate and have positive dialogue effectively is often the first step. By implementing tools to set boundaries around your communication, what seems difficult at the start will become second nature in no time.” 

Take it from me – this doesn’t happen overnight. Communicating with an ex is tough – and seems impossible in the first few days, weeks, months, and even, I would say, years. But you will get there, and it will become easier, and trust me, your kids will thank you for protecting them from the conflict and exemplifying healthy communication.

Set and respect boundaries. Remember that with the proper rules and tools in place, separated parents can coexist in harmony. This gives your children the gift of safety, security, and stability following separation.

It is important in the early days to set boundaries around what issue requires what type of communication. A phone call is always best if it’s urgent (think broken bones or emergency room-type stuff). If it’s to discuss a change to parenting arrangements, routine, or your child’s development, an email might be best. And if it’s to do with day-to-day issues, including ballet shoes being left at the other house or an upcoming school play – a text message is likely to do the trick.

What are your future plans for The Collaborative Co-Parent, and are there any new initiatives or projects you’re particularly excited about?

I have a few things in the mix, including finishing and publishing my book, speaking events, parenting coaching, and raising my amazing three-year-old Teddy.

Based on your professional expertise and personal experience, what key advice would you give to parents starting a co-parenting journey?

Manage your emotions and the impact of separation on your children. There is little doubt that a relationship breakdown requires a healing process—whether it be grief, anger, loss, or confusion. It will take time to find yourself, re-establish a level of normality, find purpose, and navigate your new life as a separated parent. 

The worst thing you can do is burden your children with your grief, causing them unnecessary stress and confusion. As hard as it seems – try your best to keep tears behind closed doors and anger out of sight or hearing distance. How you tell your children about your separation is the first step to a healthy co-parenting relationship moving forward and encourages them to have a healthy relationship with each of their parents.

Finally, you have a book titled “The Collaborative Co-Parent.” Can you give us a sneak peek into its contents and what readers can expect to learn from it?

Snippets of my personal experience and advice on what works and what to avoid in co-parenting will be included. Each chapter will offer real-life tips for co-parents aiming to improve for their children’s sake. Some of the topics covered will include:

  • Transitioning from spouse to co-parent
  • Resources available to avoid judges, conflict, and upset
  • Navigating two homes
  • Tools and resources to encourage healthy, safe communication with your ex
  • Sharing parental responsibility and decision-making – learning to agree despite the differences
  • Positive communication about and encouragement of your ex – Image is everything
  • Learn the warning signs, navigate emotions, heal trauma and emotional dysregulation
  • The Brady Bunch – Fact or Faux? Blended families and step-parents

The reasons for divorce and the subsequent steps, including co-parenting methods, differ from family to family. Though there is no one-size-fits-all solution, Pomare’s insights provided an alternative perspective and challenged the often negative connotations associated with divorce, separation, and co-parenting.