International Commission on Couple and Family Relations

Berlin 2020: Helping Families through Separation and Divorce: Collaboration, not Confrontation, in Social Plurality

66th ICCFR Conference

Date: 29-30 October 2020 in Berlin

Venue: Centre Monbijou, Oranienburger Str. 13 – 14, 10178 Berlin

Family life and models of relationships between married (or unmarried) couples are diverse and so are the arrangements made in the case of divorce / separation. In this year’s conference we want to shed light on different legal and family support procedures that aim to increase the chances of having a good relationship, even if the partnership is over. The focus is especially on the children, the most vulnerable individuals in this process, who are wholly reliant on high-quality support in order to help keep them in a close relationship with both parents.

Important questions:

  • What are the legal and social frameworks with regard to custody, access and support after a divorce / separation? How does this framework influence the intensity of conflict / situation of separated parents, as well as their children?
  • How do these legal and social and frameworks affect the social situation of parents?
  • What is the role of (pre-trial) mediation procedures for an amicable settlement in divorce / separation?
  • How can / should those (pre-trial) mediation procedures be shaped to have a significant positive role?
  • What kinds of distinct mediation structures for pre-trial conflict resolution already exist and have proven helpful?
  • What relevance does the notion of “shared parental responsibility” and “children alternating between different parental homes” have and what measures exist to cope with this challenge?
  • What is the relevance of cross-border conflicts and what are possible solutions?
  • What methods have proven useful for determining the child’s wishes / best interests in divorce proceedings?
  • What kinds of arrangements exist to strengthen the protection of children’s interests?
  • Are there any solutions for cases of separation / divorce for “social parents” and their children?
  • How successful is collaboration between lawyers, courts and social workers in helping families before, during and after the separation / divorce process? Are there any good examples for interdisciplinary practice to help the families?
  • How can consonance after separation be supported?
  • What should the role of the grandparents be? How can established relationships be sustained?
  • What are the legal and political needs for future development?

A participatory conference

Would you like to be a member of a panel at which issues arising from the conference are discussed?

Do you have suggestions for aspects of the theme that could be explored, to which you could bring your knowledge and experience?

In this conference, input from all attendees is greatly appreciated, the better to gain insights from different countries in all continents and all relevant professions. We cordially invite you to send us your suggestions and proposals so that they can be considered and the agenda organised accordingly.

We also heartily invite you to take a strong and active part within ICCFR in the future, in the interests of strengthening our interdisciplinary network. In the afternoon of 30 October we will discuss the next steps for ICCFR and for jointly developing the future of our network. Your aspirations, advice and knowledge are very welcome contributions to the planning of for future conferences and other ICCFR activities.

Please use the attached form to indicate your interest in contributing to the conference agenda and the topic that you want to present or whether you would like only to attend the conference.

Draft programme

Thursday, 29 October 2020

08:30 – 09:30Registration
09:30 – 10:00Welcome
10:00 – 10:45Setting the scene: The need for collaboration of within the Family Court services
10:45 – 11:45Legal framework and family support structures in selected countries
Panel / short interventions on such topics as contentious divorce, no fault divorce, collaborative law, same sex couples, custody by grandparents, etc.
11:45 – 12:00Coffee break
12:00 – 13:00Discussion Groups
13:00 – 14:00Lunch
14:00 – 15:30Putting the children in the centre
Panel /short interventions: Legal models to secure the child’s best interest
15:30 – 15:45Coffee break
15:45 – 16:45Discussion Groups
17:00Social event / joint dinner

Friday, 30 October 2020

09:00 – 09:30It’s not the divorce/separation, it’s the conflict
09:30 – 10:30Examples of good practice for securing children’s best interests
Panel: Collaborative models designed to reduce negative impacts on children (cross discliplinary), behavioural intervention, online eprogramming, parent education
10:30 – 10:45Coffee break
10:45 – 11:45Discussion Groups
11:45 – 12:45Wrapping up and open-floor discussion
12:45 – 14:00Lunch
14:00 – 16:00Future developments and conferences of ICCFR
16:30End of conference

Download Draft Programme:


For early registrations and for participants who make a significant contribution to the conference programme, e.g. leading a discussion group or being on the plenary panel, there is no registration fee.


We have pre-reserved rooms in hotels nearby, which can be booked on a first come first served basis. Please note that you have sole responsibility for booking and paying for your accommodation, which is not covered by the registration fee. When you register, you will be taken to a link to reserve accommodation.

Registration / Expressions of interest in presenting


Logo AGF


The conference is supported by:

Logo of German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth