Parental conflict resources for parents who are separated or considering separation
There is a lot to consider when thinking about separation. Most important is how the new arrangements will affect your children.
There are things you can do that will help you feel stronger and ready to deal with disagreements and arguments - see our Top tips to help you stay calm during disagreements or arguments page.
For a free private online chat room where you can talk to a listener about your relationship, go to Click relationships: Listening room.
The Co-Parent Hub
If you are thinking about separation, you are likely to be feeling strong emotions and it may be hard to not be swayed by these. A good place to start thinking about this is the Co-Parent Hub. It gives you the chance to think through the practical arrangements you'll need to make and will help you stay focused on making decisions in the best interests of your children.
The Co-Parent Hub has different online tools to help you during and after your separation and in making arrangements for your children. Their parenting plan, which both parents can use, and advice about mediation options are designed to help separating parents come to agreements without needing to use the court system. It also has advice on how to reassure your children, who are likely to be feeling upset and anxious, and take some time to really listen to them about what they need.
It is almost always in a child's best interest to maintain contact with both parents. It is important that you do not seek to punish your ex-partner by denying them contact with their children, unless of course there are concerns that the children would not be safe.
Separated parents information programme (Parenting when separated programme)
This is a practical and positive evidence-based course for parents who are preparing for, going through or have gone through a separation or divorce. The course will support parents in 'Parental Coping and Self Care', 'Parenting' and the 'Co-parental Relationship'. The programme highlights positive and practical steps parents can take to help their children cope and thrive as well as coping successfully themselves.
This is a six week course with an additional one to one introductory and follow-up session. Each of the six weekly session will run for no more than two and a half hours. For more information please contact your local Family Centre or speak to a professional you may already be working with eg school, GP, Health Visitor who can make a referral for you.
This is not suitable for parents where there is domestic abuse. If there is historical domestic abuse, we would need to seek advice from Harbour (Durham's Specialist Domestic Abuse Service) to discuss the appropriateness of the Parenting When Separated course and ensure you get the support you need. If you are unsure then see our parental conflict or domestic abuse information.
If you are concerned that your children are not safe with your ex-partner or other family member, it is your responsibility to take protective action. This may include:
- stopping your children from seeing your ex-partner, or other family members, where there is a risk to your child's safety
- asking somebody neutral to help with handovers
- asking for handovers to take place away from the home address
- asking for communication to be kept to arrangements for your children
- limiting communicating to text messages
When to contact Children's Services
You should contact First Contact if you are concerned that your child's safety is at risk and you are unable to protect them or you need additional support or advice.
Getting it Right for Children
This course is for separating or separated parents experiencing high levels of conflict.
When parents separate, it's hard for everyone. It's a stressful time and, with emotions running high, even everyday arrangements can become a source of arguments.
The goal of this course is to minimise the effects that your separation has on your children. It is designed to help separating parents communicate better for the sake of their children. You can do it all in one go but it's often best to spread it over a few weeks to give yourself time to reflect and practise the skills.
As you go through, you'll see a series of video clips showing different scenarios where children are put in the middle of their parents' disagreements. You'll get to see what it's like for the parents and the children involved, and you'll learn new skills that can help you resolve disagreements in a better way.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:
- stay calm and listen as well as talk
- see things from a different point of view
- stop a discussion from turning into an argument
- negotiate to make compromises
- work out solutions
If you feel you need extra support and are already working with a professional or are in contact with your GP or child's school, they will be able to support you in getting the help you need. Alternatively, you can speak with your local Family Centre or telephone First Contact 03000 267 979 and ask to speak to an Early Help Triage Worker.
Please register and sign into the course at OnePlusOne - courses.
- AdviceNow has survival guides on the issues you need to understand when separating or getting divorced.
- Resolution family justice professionals work to resolve family issues in a constructive way that considers the needs of the whole family.
- Family Lives provide advice on whether to split up or stay together.
- Relate provide help for when you decide to separate with your partner.
- Government advice on sorting out the legal side of separation.
- Family mediation is less stressful than going to court and is usually quicker and cheaper.
- Voices in The Middle (for parents) has helpful information about how to talk to teenagers about divorce or separation.
- Qwell offers free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support for adults across the UK. There a variety of anonymous support options to meet your needs including on-line messaging, booked and drop-in chat, therapeutic content, community support and personal development tools.