Call our National Helpline on 0300 0300 363
(open 7am - midnight, 7 days a week)

The UK's leading Shared Parenting charity

Emotional Support

It is not uncommon for separation and divorce to be a life shattering experience, so if you feel that way, you are not alone. Everything that you care about, including the relationship with your children, your financial status, your ability to function at work and your health can be put at risk through prolonged proceedings.

Try to think of ways to help yourself continue to be able to function under these extremely difficult circumstances. Try to do things that you know are good for you and stay healthy. This will help your children, because they need you to be well. If you feel sad and angry, which is totally normal, try to find ways to deal with this. Find people you can talk to or ways to express your anger and sadness. Maybe going to the gym will help, but do whatever will help you.

One of the most important things to realise is that we are here for you. We have a helpline which you can call 7 days a week, 24 hours a day on 0300 0330 363 and we have branch meetings across the country.

For online support you can sign up to FNF's online forum, open to our members. You can share your story, hear others and receive support and advice from our other members. For more information about the online forum and the many other benefits of FNF membership please click here.

You can also access DSG's local counselling support groups, provided by trained psychotherapists, on 0844 800 9098 www.divorcesupportgroup.co.uk.

If there is something you don’t understand please call the National Helpline on 0300 0300 363.

We are keen to hear from you about how you cope, which might help others in the future. If you would like to add to this page, if you have found a website of real help, or you have read a book which you would like others to enjoy, please e-mail admin@fnf.org.uk.

Health and mental well-being

Anxiety and low mood

Anxiety and low mood are common after family breakups. This is distressing but normal and will settle with adjusting to the new situation. Having said that, times of divorce or separation are bound to have an impact on your emotional and mental well-being.
In order for you to keep on going and because your children need you to be there for them, do find a source of help, sooner rather than later.

The first port of call is your GP. They will be able to offer you support with regards to the emotional impact of separation and divorce. They can make an assessment if you require a referral for counselling or to the well-being team. They may also advise taking a course of medication should this be required.

Do try to find understanding sources of support - family, friends or other people within FNF, who will help you through the journey ahead. If you require professional support it is important that you get it. Professionals are obliged to maintain confidentiality in a way that other people might not.

“After I split up with my girlfriend, I felt jittery and I suffered with a lack of confidence”
“I was isolated and I couldn’t sleep”

If you are feeling anxious or low your GP can help, or click here for NHS Direct.

Feeling anxious?

Suggested links:


www.livinglifetothefull.com
http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anxiety/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://www.sane.org.uk/AboutMentalIllness/Anxiety

Feeling low?

Suggested links:


http://www.separatedfamilies.info/families/about-you/taking-good-care-of-yourself/
http://www.mind.org.uk/
http://samaritans.org.uk/
www.counselling-directory.org.uk - the purpose of the site is ultimately to provide the UK with a huge counselling support network, enabling those in distress to find a counsellor close to them and appropriate for their needs. This is a free, confidential service that will hopefully encourage those in distress to seek help.

Can't sleep?

Suggested links:

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinformation/mentalhealthproblems/sleepproblems/sleepingwell.aspx
www.menshealth.co.uk/chatroom/topic/370565

Feeling angry?

Suggested links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/mental_health/coping_angermanagement1.shtml

http://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/anger.html

end faq

Drugs & Alcohol

Looking after yourself

After a family break-up, it can be tempting to stop looking after yourself, and to turn to alcohol or drugs. But they do have negative effects.

“I started drinking bottles of wine a night”
“Cannabis was the only thing that would get me to sleep”

If you are suffering with these problems it is a good idea to go and speak to your GP.

Suggested links:

http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/?gclid=CJTY8_LthZ4CFcGAzAodOTcDqg
http://www.wikivorce.com/divorce/Support-Groups/Addictions/Drink-Aware.html

 

Keeping Fit

Eating well

Meal times can be especially painful, but it’s always important to eat well and drink a lot of water.

“Meal times are the hardest”

Easy and healthy food recipes

Suggested links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/
http://www.channel4.com/food/recipes/

Keeping Fit

Try to fit some exercise into your day as this may help you too. It may be the last thing on your mind but is worth trying.

“I felt going to the gym helped, it cleared my mind”

Suggested links:


http://www.need2know.co.uk/health/keeping_fit/article.html/id=310
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/healthy_living/fitness/

 

Personal relationships

New relationships

After divorce and separation you can often feel wary of starting relationships with new people. There are no rules as to when you should or should not start a new relationship. Sometimes new relationships can have an impact on your parenting arrangements and your children might feel upset by this new development. Remember to be sensitive to the fact that children might take some time to get used to a new person in your life, but you should not feel guilty for this and try and make sure you reassure them that you love them just the same. It is crucial to spend some special parent time alone with your children.

If you are a member of FNF you can receive some good feedback from other members on our forum or through our local contact list. Other people have gone through the same situations as you – it really is good to talk.

Changing relationships

After separation and divorce your relationships with family members and friends can change. Some for the better with renewed bonds, but some relationships can be tested. Sometimes you can feel that nobody understands how bad it is. If you are feeling this way please pick up the phone to our helpline, go to a branch meeting or get on our members forum.
What you are feeling is normal, and many others have felt the same way. You may feel alone, but talking to others may reassure you that you are not alone and FNF is here to support you.

 

Time management

What can I do?

Depending on your own resilience it can sometimes take as long as a couple of years, or more, before any change starts to become your new ‘normal’.

Nevertheless, what do you do in the meantime? When we focus on personal emotional problems time has a habit of slowing down. What will be a great help is to try and put some structure into your days, even when it may not be necessary. Try planning for the next day the night before, but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t go to plan. Try and recognise the small achievements. The point is: at least you tried to have a structure to your day, which may help it flow more easily.

Some people find that volunteering helps bring structure to their week, to volunteer with FNF call 0300 0300 110 or e-mail admin@fnf.org.uk.

You could also contact your local CVS for more information about voluntary groups in your area.

 

Work life

Are you struggling?

Separation and divorce can also have an effect on your work, productivity and your performance can sometimes slump. Understandably, as your thoughts are else where. Some of our members have not been able to continue working, but some have thrown themselves into their work. There is no one size that fits all. Try and speak to your employer. Sometimes employers can be very understanding, they might have even gone through it themselves. Or sometimes, they are not so sympathetic. This can depend on the size of the company you work, for example. People who are self-employed often find it particularly difficult.

Try and speak to somebody if you are struggling to cope and if you can let your employer know what is going on. If you are experiencing difficulties with your employer, please get in touch with our helpline 0300 0330 363.

It might also help to read our time management section and our financial problems section.

 

Trauma

Sharing

When someone has suffered trauma of any sort, it is advisable to share these feelings with someone who is able to help. Often your doctor will have a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) attached to their practice who can help even if you don’t want anti-depressants. Many therapists or counsellors in private practice can help but it is important you check their qualifications and most importantly that you feel comfortable with them.

 

Talking to your children

Do you find it difficult to talk to your children?

It can be difficult to know what to say to your children based on their age and their own grasp of the situation. Rather than focus on talking to them you could try asking them if they have any questions they want answering. Letting them talk will give you a greater understanding of what they feel which will help you respond to their needs. Helping them cope will also help you cope. If they don’t feel comfortable asking questions, you can try “what do you think about…?” “How do you feel about?” “What would you like?”

Often children can feel anger, upset, confusion and sadness and you may struggle with how best to talk to your child or deal with their behaviour. Their feelings and needs can be expressed through their behaviour, which on the surface can just seem like they are misbehaving or being difficult. It is also worth considering that their anger may surface some years later when they approach teenage years when their body and hormones are changing and they start to develop relationships for themselves. Children can often compare their ideas of what makes a happy relationship with what they have experienced, and get angry or confused.

If you need any support call our helpline on 0300 0300 363.

 

Financial Problems

Financial support

Divorce and separation is expensive. If you have financial problems one excellent source of help is your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau: more details at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/. It is best to communicate early with any of your creditors, in an effort to reach agreement with them about a sensible and affordable way for you to repay your debt. For further advice, see the Money Advice Service.


If you are struggling with child maintenance payments visit http://www.cmoptions.org/ or call our helpline on 0300 0300 363 or contact www.nacsa.org.uk.

If you need debt advice you could visit the website of the Debt Advice Foundation

 

Suggested Books and Organisations

You might find these helpful

Overcoming Depression by Paul Gilbert

Overcoming Anxiety by Helen Kennerly

Overcoming Low Self Esteem by Melanie Fennell

The Mindful Way Through Depression by Mark Williams

The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

 

  • Families Need Fathers shared Department for Work and Pensions - DWP's photo.You can get further information about your options for child maintenance from our info page here: http://www.fnf.org.uk/law-information-2/finances/child-maintenance
    2014-10-29T20:48:46+0000
  • Came across this gem of a survey for Womens Aid, do feel free to complete it, I have! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DM89PSP

    Web survey powered by SurveyMonkey.com. Create your own online survey now with SurveyMonkey's expert certified FREE templates.
    www.surveymonkey.comWeb survey powered by SurveyMonkey.com. Create your own online survey now with SurveyMonkey's expert certified FREE templates.

    2014-10-29T15:45:21+0000
  • hi ,i think i need to take my ex to court so i can take them abroad on holiday ,[i get access ]can i get some advise on what steps to take before i do such a thing on the helpline. thanks
  • it has taken 66 days and a letter from the Local Council Ombudsman for Somerset Child Services to acknowledge my complaint and request for a meeting. No wonder Ofsted said they are 'inadequate.'
  • This half term, Read On Get On are providing a range of free events and activities across the country to encourage kids to enjoy reading. For details of events in your area, just follow this link: http://www.readongeton.org.uk/readingevents

    Celebrate the magic of reading at one of our nationwide events As part of our campaign to get all children reading well by the age of 11, we’re inviting families across the UK along to free events celebrating all that is magical about reading.
    www.readongeton.org.ukCelebrate the magic of reading at one of our nationwide events As part of our campaign to get all children reading well by the age of 11, we’re inviting families across the UK along to free events celebrating all that is magical about reading.

    2014-10-27T13:04:57+0000
  • A network of in-court advice centres is to be expanded nationally to assist unrepresented litigants: http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/oct/23/legal-advice-litigants-without-lawyers-justice?CMP=twt_gu

    Ministry of Justice scheme will cover family law and civil cases, and aims to fill the gap left following cuts in legal aid
    www.theguardian.comMinistry of Justice scheme will cover family law and civil cases, and aims to fill the gap left following cuts in legal aid

    2014-10-23T11:57:52+0000
  • The presumption of parental involvement comes into effect from today: http://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/news/news.aspx?newsid=2941

    Changes are being made to the Children's Act 1989 from October 22 this year.
    www.simpsonmillar.co.ukChanges are being made to the Children's Act 1989 from October 22 this year.

    2014-10-22T14:31:42+0000
  • Is there anyone from this site located in the Grimsby/Cleethorpes Area i could get in touch with please as need some advice on a matter which i would rather keep off here ???????.
  • All Civil Service employees will be offered equal parental pay and support from 2015: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29685546

    All Civil Service employees will be entitled to full parental pay from April 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will announce.
    www.bbc.co.ukAll Civil Service employees will be entitled to full parental pay from April 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will announce.

    2014-10-20T11:13:16+0000
  • If my exs mother attempts to collect my 10 year old child from school, without consent, and with an inducement that she will take her to her mums in defiance of me as the parent legitimately due to collect and refuses to take her hand off her then is this an offence?
  • Can anyone advise or help me? I have twin children, a boy and girl who are 10. I have always been a very caring and loving dad and up until last year had a very special relationship with both. I say up until last year because last march my son said he no longer wished to see me and from last September my daughter also said she no longer wanted to see me. My ex wife and I parted in 2011 after several domestic issues that occurred between both of us. I was arrested and my ex wife was cautioned by the police, however we continued to try to reconcile our marriage but in November she announced that the relationship was over and wanted a divorce, from that point she wanted no contact with me at all. I used a solicitor to arrange contact with my children and for 6 months I saw my children for alternate overnight weekend contact, Friday to sunday, however my ex wife refused to facilitate handovers and it was carried out by her son who at times was aggressive and rude. In June 2012 he turned up drunk and was aggressive towards me and when reporting it to the police he accused me of being aggressive and from that point I lost contact with my children for 3 months. After we agreed to use a mediation service i was allowed to see the children again but her son said he feared for his safety and refused to facilitate handovers any longer. It was agreed that I would finish work early to be able to pick them up from school and book every Monday morning off to take them back to school. The only communication my ex wife had with me was via a diary which was agreed at the mediation. In the October my ex wife wrote that she felt communication between us had broken down and in the best interest of the children she felt that a court order needed to be put in place for me to see my children. This is when I put an application in to the courts and CAFCASS got involved and my nightmare really began! They wrote a report which was extremely one sided and I was so desperate to see my children that I agreed to supervised contact which was funded by CAFCASS. I saw both my children at a contact centre which wasn't ideal but it was great having contact. Both children were happy and stated that they didn't want to leave at the end of each contact. However after the 3rd contact session my son told his mum that he didn't want to see me anymore and from that point on I haven't seen him. I have sent gifts and presents but it's been reported by his mother that it distresses him and he self harms himself when he recieves these gifts. I continued seeing my daughter who was more than happy to come and be with me. It went back to court and it was then decided that contact could progress do that I could then take her out the contact centre but still be supervised. Just like before all contact reports were positive and outlined no issues with my suitability being withy daughter. In October last year just before a contact hearing she wrote a letter telling the judge she no longer wished to see me either, his left me devastated. Up until that point no one seemed to view these reports written by the contact centre. She questioned my ex wife upon reading the reports and stated that they were some of the most positive reports she had read!! She asked why the children felt the way they do, to which my ex said she didn't know!! If was then ordered for a social worker to work with the children and me to regain contact as it was seen by the judge that contact between a father and children are very important. My son still refused to attend and i just saw my daughter. However the happy, loving little girl I remember was absolutely terrified of me when I met her in march and it broke my heart that she won't even let me cuddle her. The social worker wrote a report to the courts via CAFCASS, unfortunately I'm not allowed to see this report as CAFCASS need to send it to me. It's my understanding that the worker felt it very important for contact to continue with my daughter. CAFCASS have denied recieving this report and it was not filed at court for the final hearing. CAFCASS and my children's school Decided before the hearing that I have the indirect contact and that's exactly what the courts ordered. The way that this has been dealt with by CAFCASS from the beginning has been absolutely disgraceful, the officer has refused to include facts or historical information. They seem to think that it's not relevant that my ex has stopped her other children from seeing their dads, in exactly the same way! She had brain washed and scared the children telling them terrible stories and telling them that their fathers don't care about them, which is what she has done to my children about me. She even turned the final hearing at court into something about her instead of it being about the children by having someone from woman's refuge sit with her because the last judge could see through her lies and it was such a bad experience for her. In other words she was caught out and the judge dis believed her!! But it was a different judge this time and he really had no interest in the facts either. The last few years have been really hard, my solicitor just sucked as much money from me as they could, I had a trainee sent to represent me and he was walked all over by my exs solicitor. So in the end I represented myself. none of the facts or evidence has been looked at fairly by CAFCASS or the courts and I'm left in despair of what to do. My children have been brain washed against me. Has anyone lost their children like me, from a spiteful ex, and maybe in years later they have found their dads and been reunited, or have I lost them forever?? I'm expecting a new baby with my partner and it's left me in pieces because I want my twins to be part of my baby's life and not have her used as a weapon by my ex telling my twins that I've moved on and I don't love or care about them anymore. Can anyone give me any advice or help at all, please.
  • Families Need Fathers commented on their own link.
  • The presumption of parental involvement in the Children and Families Act is due to come into force on 22 October 2014. It will be down to the courts to ensure that the Government's intention for more children to benefit from proper relationships with both parents is reflected in their decisions. http://www.familylaw.co.uk/news_and_comment/presumption-of-parental-involvement-to-come-into-force-on-22-october-2014#.VDvmCGddWoY

    The President of the Family Division has today announced that the presumption of parental involvement at section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (which inserts new sections 1(2)A, 1(2)B, 1(6) and 1(7) into the Children Act 1989) will come into force on 22 October 2014.
    www.familylaw.co.ukThe President of the Family Division has today announced that the presumption of parental involvement at section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (which inserts new sections 1(2)A, 1(2)B, 1(6) and 1(7) into the Children Act 1989) will come into force on 22 October 2014.

    2014-10-13T14:56:39+0000
  • A really interesting article on the BBC News website looks at the issues faced by parents representing themselves in the family courts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29557581 Our support services can provide help on how to best pursue your case if you cannot afford legal advice: http://www.fnf.org.uk/help-and-support-2

    As figures show more parents are representing themselves in civil courts, parents speak about fighting - without a lawyer - to see their children.
    www.bbc.co.ukAs figures show more parents are representing themselves in civil courts, parents speak about fighting - without a lawyer - to see their children.

    2014-10-13T14:35:17+0000
  • Someone claiming to be a family member but whom I have never laid eyes on (my exs boyfriends mother) turns up at my kids school when its my contact weekend and I am due to collect by court order and physically grabs onto my daughter stating shes taking her home with her (not a named collector) and refuses to let go when asked by me to do so causing absolute mayhem and distress. She then abuses me in public. Thames Valley Police reaction....oh! its not an offence...but we will speak to her. WTF!
  • http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/2014/09/23/laspo-and-litigants-in-person-by-john-bolch/#.VDY-mX72LC0.twitter

    I have been looking in a little more detail at the Bar Council report assessing the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (‘LASPO’) on the justice system a year a...
    www.marilynstowe.co.ukI have been looking in a little more detail at the Bar Council report assessing the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (‘LASPO’) on the justice system a year a...

    2014-10-09T08:08:43+0000
  • New national standards for family court experts: http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed133384

    Changes to the family court rules mean only qualified, experienced and recognised professionals will be able to give evidence as expert witnesses in family proceedings relating to children. This change follows the new laws implemented in April which mean expert evidence will now only be commissioned…
    www.familylawweek.co.ukChanges to the family court rules mean only qualified, experienced and recognised professionals will be able to give evidence as expert witnesses in family proceedings relating to children. This change follows the new laws implemented in April which mean expert evidence will now only be commissioned…

    2014-10-04T15:49:44+0000
  • Looking for guidance or support about seeing your children after separation? Find details for local meetings in October here: http://www.fnf.org.uk/help-and-support-2/local-branch-meetings

    Families Need Fathers (FNF) is a registered UK charity, founded in 1974. It provides information and support to parents, including unmarried parents, of either sex.
    www.fnf.org.ukFamilies Need Fathers (FNF) is a registered UK charity, founded in 1974. It provides information and support to parents, including unmarried parents, of either sex.

    2014-10-01T12:58:39+0000
  • Last week, Rob from Families Need Fathers spoke to Helen Blaby on BBC Radio Northampton about the important role fathers play in a child's life. You can listen to it online now! (segment begins at 01:22:15 in the recording) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p026dhdd

    Helen brings you lunchtime talk entertainment, advice and topical items.
    www.bbc.co.ukHelen brings you lunchtime talk entertainment, advice and topical items.

    2014-09-29T12:23:59+0000
  • Thinking about representing yourself in court? Our information page will let you know what you need to consider: http://www.fnf.org.uk/law-information-2/courts/representing-yourself Our support services are available if you would like to speak to someone, face-to-face, over the phone or online: http://www.fnf.org.uk/help-and-support-2

    Families Need Fathers (FNF) is a registered UK charity, founded in 1974. It provides information and support to parents, including unmarried parents, of either sex.
    www.fnf.org.ukFamilies Need Fathers (FNF) is a registered UK charity, founded in 1974. It provides information and support to parents, including unmarried parents, of either sex.

    2014-09-19T10:50:46+0000

FNF_Media Mediation session to now be free for both parties where one parent qualifies for legal aid: https://t.co/sGgtZfr9tz
FNF_Media Really interesting article on parents' experiences representing themselves in the family courts: http://t.co/9nKLo7q8yt
FNF_Media The FNF Selby meeting will be moving to York from September. For more details, check out our branch listings here: http://t.co/sQtiSmHZRZ
FNF_Media RT @JordansFamLaw: Presumption of parental involvement to come into force on 22 October 2014: The President of the Fam... http://t.co/G2Bv8
FNF_Media http://t.co/lw3jfkB2ju A parental alienation youtube video by Gregory Mantell
FNF_Media Need guidance or support about seeing your children after separation? Find details for our October meetings here: http://t.co/X3OjjIqIW5
FNF_Media A massive congratulations to Gary, who has been fundraising by walking the length of the Liverpool/Leeds canal! https://t.co/BBBm9ewVO7
FNF_Media RT @jrf_uk: Government 'family test' policy will recognise grandparents, says Iain Duncan Smith: http://t.co/1KstYm4DWf (via @Telegraph)
4hreplyretweetfavorite
FNF_Media RT @TCMFamilyLaw: @FNF_Media sharing your good work. Chair of FNF's Central London Branch details how his branch helps parents http://t.co/
FNF_Media Check out our new, redesigned Families Need Fathers website! https://t.co/S8Ep5e1rFj
FNF_Media In-court advice centres to be provided nationally to help unrepresented litigants: http://t.co/Ae2z3A6DXp
FNF_Media RT @ChaRiches: A drama download for all the young dads out there http://t.co/I94P2htcjq @YoungDadCouncil @fatherhoodinst @FNF_Media
FNF_Media Catch up with our newsletter for July online now! http://t.co/AhxezvpOQo
FNF_Media A new FNF meeting starts in Cornwall this Wednesday at 7.30pm. Click here for more details: http://t.co/x1nogana90
FNF_Media Listen to Rob from FNF discussing litgants-in-person on the Victoria Derbyshire show earlier this week (13:46 on) - http://t.co/lWjMvloCkY
FNF_Media FNF members can download our CSA and Child Maintenance Service factsheets, available free in the members' area: http://t.co/3ozxV5trHy
FNF_Media @fnf_bpm_cymru Not sure how that happened, but happy to be following again!
FNF_Media Need guidance or support in seeing your children after separation? Find details for local meetings in September here: http://t.co/X3OjjIqIW5
FNF_Media With child maintenance charges being introduced today, check our information page to see if you will be affected: http://t.co/i3rWCr7yhk

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

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Upcoming Events

1/11/2014 Sat: London North West (Harrow) Meeting
3/11/2014 Mon: London Central Solicitor Clinic
3/11/2014 Mon: Oxford Meeting (check day with branch)
3/11/2014 Mon: Edinburgh Meeting
3/11/2014 Mon: Manchester Meeting
3/11/2014 Mon: Glasgow Meeting
3/11/2014 Mon: London Central Meeting
3/11/2014 Mon: Reading Meeting
3/11/2014 Mon: Barnstaple Meeting
4/11/2014 Tue: Leeds Central Meeting
4/11/2014 Tue: Newcastle Meeting
4/11/2014 Tue: London North West (Harrow) Meeting