We can’t agree and need help

Even though you have decided to separate, you are still both parents. Children can cope well through a separation if their parents manage it well and find ways to reduce conflict and maintain good quality access to the family.

Trying to keep a good co-parenting relationship can take hard work and effort by both parents. There are ways to seek help from outside professionals and there is information and resources available that can assist you both in doing this.

Sometimes seeing either an individual therapist or coach, attending counselling together can help you both process the end of the relationship and make it easier for you then, in turn, helping you both to parent your children together whilst apart. There are fantastic courses available through various organisations including CAFCASS (called the Separated Parents Information Program/SPIP), which provides information, tools and guidance about ways in which you may help yourself and your children to come to terms with the end of the relationship and how the next stage of parenting may look. CAFCASS and some specialist coaches and therapists also have parenting plans that they will give you to fill in together. These can be useful in establishing who will do what and when.

Often the discussions about where the children will live, how much time they will spend with both parents and what those arrangements may look like now and into the future can cause conflict. There are a number of different ways that people can achieve agreements and  solutions that work for their family. Not any one solution or method is the right one for everybody, and it may be a combination of these will work best for your family.

Below is a list of the ways in which people can try to resolve issues relating to their separation and the arrangements for their children.

Once an agreement has been reached this can be drafted into a parenting plan (this can be found a link to this can be found on the CAFCASS website or, if it is decided to be necessary, it can be turned into a Children Act court order. If you have financial issues that also need to be resolved these may also need to be drafted into a court order (in separate proceedings).