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Development   /  Jonathon Dutton

Reimagining Separation

Reimagining Separation takes an in-depth look at family separation and how we can reduce the impact and trauma of it.


Impact areas






  • DIRECTOR Jonathon Dutton

  • PRODUCER Jonathon Dutton



This documentary series sets out to challenge the preconceived notion that just ‘getting a lawyer’ is the best approach when separating, by uncovering the lasting impact conflict has on our relationships and our kids.

Children whose parents go through a conflict laden separation are 50% more likely to get divorced themselves. This life-altering experience impacts how they deal with conflict and their future relationships, and that impact is passed down from generation to generation. This is known as intergenerational trauma and the knock-on effects are damaging our current and future relationships.

When parents get unnecessarily entangled in the family court system, the adversarial process actively encourages and exacerbates conflict by pitting parent against parent. This is what’s hurting our kids – the conflict. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Research shows that when parents separate cooperatively, there’s no measurable impact on the future lives of the children involved. In fact, it’s estimated that only 10% of cases need the courts, so why do so many end up in the system that don’t need to?

Reimagining Separation is a 3-part television documentary series that sets out to challenge the idea of how we approach family separation and the role the legal system plays, while proposing a better way for the sake of our future relationships and our kids. With 50% of marriages ending in divorce, and nearly half of them involving children, this series will kickstart a timely and important national conversation.

It’s time to change the way we think about ‘getting a lawyer’. It’s time to examine the lasting impact of conflict on our kids our relationships, and the cycle we’re perpetuating. It’s time for change.

Support this project

62.88% funded
  • $40,000.00

  • $25,150.00

  • June 2022

  • 4

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Anonymous $50.00
Anonymous $15,000.00
Geraldine Johns-Putra $100.00
Anonymous $10,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

50% of first marriages end in divorce and of those, 47.1% involve children under 18 years. When children are involved in the conflict of separating parents, the impacts can be devastating, and many families can exacerbate this conflict by getting unnecessarily caught up in the adversarial family law system.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Not only do we want to show families why they should avoid the adversarial family law system, but as part of the making of the film, we plan to reveal the many healthy ways families can navigate separation. The larger outreach campaign will see the series used to lobby lawmakers and government by offering a roadmap for change, as well as compelling reasons for existing practitioners to rethink their approach.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

The short-term outcomes we hope to see is a shift for audiences in terms of what they would do or advise their friends and families to do, if they are separating or considering separating.

The medium-term outcomes we hope to see are ongoing views and engagement with our series and community after the initial release, as well as widespread adoption of our proposed solutions.

The long-term outcomes we hope to see would be legislative. For example, we would like to see families engaging with relationship professionals before they engage with legal professionals.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

As part of the narrative of the series, we will highlight how conflict and the family law system impacts families and in particular, children.

The series will also highlight what changes are needed and why and by doing so, encourage couples to make better choices.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

This project was inspired during the creation of a 30-minute film (Family is Family) to celebrate ten years of the MELCA. MELCA practices a form of ‘Collaborative Law’, a type of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). The goal of Family is Family was to tell the story of separation and how ADR can minimise the impacts of family separation. Below is a link to the extended trailer:

MELCA has been a major supporter of the development of the series and instrumental in setting up the Expert Advisory Group.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

1. We want audiences that are in the process of separating (or experiencing conflict) to be encouraged to make better choices.
2. We want audiences who know those affected by separation and the family law system to recommend our film to people.
3. We want organisations and practitioners who work with children to be inspired and empowered by what we uncover.
4. We want influencers to reference and support our series and resources during relevant news cycles, to help keep the national conversation on point.
5. We want universities to use our film to inspire legal professionals to see family breakdown as more than just a legal issue.
6. We want audiences and their networks to help us champion and drive meaningful legislative change.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

The short-term indicators will be measured via the engagement with the series and solution, as well as the growth of our community. We would also use some qualitative measures to get a sense of how the film and the solution is translating; what information is being retained; as well as the user experience of the solution. This will help us understand and explore what else we could be doing to enable us to achieve our goals.

The medium-term indicators we will be looking at is the influence of our community, as well as how the film is being used by organisations and universities.

The long-term indicators will be a direct result of government and lawmaker interest and action based on the solution we develop.