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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  on 0300 0330 363 (9am - 10pm Monday to Friday, 10am - 3pm at weekends), 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

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

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:

Feeling low?

Suggested links: - 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:

Feeling angry?

Suggested links:

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:


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:

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:


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

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.




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 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 or call our helpline on 0300 0300 363 or contact

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


  • More Fathers Protest by Climbing Buckingham Palace Last night protesters from two so-called ‘Dads’ Rights’ groups risked life and limb to draw attention to the shameful outcomes experienced by many fathers when they seek to remain a part of the lives of their children following divorce or separation. Families Need Fathers is only too familiar with the deeply felt frustrations that drove these two men to undertake such a dangerous stunt. Each year, FNF receives tens of thousands of pleas for support and guidance directed at our UK Helpline and our branches from parents (mostly fathers) and grandparents whose only sin was to seek to continue playing a meaningful role in the upbringing of their children after separation. Many are bewildered at how they have been squeezed out of their children's lives, generally having done nothing more than falling out of favour with the children's mother. Such exclusion risks huge consequences for their children when they grow up. Jerry Karlin, Chair of Families Need Fathers commented: "The UK cannot continue to ignore the elephant in the room – the widespread unfairness of outcomes for children who are deprived of their involvement with (usually) their fathers by a court system and infrastructure which inconsistently applies the law in so many cases. Our system continues to sidestep the gathering of proper official statistics regarding cases and their outcomes. Cases remain shrouded in secrecy and, according to the many calls we receive from the public, outcomes appear to vary greatly according to many odd factors such as which court or which CAFCASS agency are involved. Parents are often encouraged or feel obliged to find thousands of pounds for legal costs, only to be told when the money runs out that there is nothing else that can be done. Money that they would wish to spend on their children. So despite clear rules of procedure, it can take years and tens of thousands of pounds for an order to be granted by the court for the children to spend alternate weekends and some holiday time with their dad. Even when one parent finally obtains a court order allowing them the ‘privilege’ of seeing their own children, an intractable other parent will all too often stubbornly ignore the order – in some cases even tearing up the order in front of the hated ex-partner outside the court. The court may then fail for a second time by not enforcing the order it’s made. The relatively few statistics we do have from the Ministry of Justice show that something like only 2.1% of applications for enforcement end in an order being made. It’s time all parents were equally subject to the law of the land. Meanwhile, men are taking their own lives in increasing numbers – in some cases because they cannot face feeling bullied out of their children or because they have been maliciously blamed for alleged crimes, often apparently without any evidence being produced. This has to stop, for the sake of future generations.” Of course we all wish that no one ever felt so hurt and unjustly treated as to turn to such dangerous stunts as climbing tall buildings or worse, but we have been pushing for over 40 years for change and although the situation has improved considerably, there is still much prejudice and bad practice to be eradicated from our system. We hope the two climbers experience a positive outcome –especially one in which they are at last allowed to provide their children with the fathering they – and all our children – need and deserve.
  • Being a Man festival link
  • A link you may find interesting regarding an increase in NMO's and civil legal aid.
  • BBC Front Row interviews Roger Waters, talking about how deeply he was affected by the loss of his father when he was only five months old. (Posted by a lifelong Pink Floyd fan!)

    Samira Ahmed talks to author Umberto Eco and musician Roger Waters. Ahmed talks to author Umberto Eco and musician Roger Waters.


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

1/12/2015 Tue: Leeds Central Meeting
1/12/2015 Tue: Newcastle Meeting
1/12/2015 Tue: Northampton Meeting
1/12/2015 Tue: Bristol Meeting
1/12/2015 Tue: Harrow Branch Meetings
2/12/2015 Wed: Manchester Meeting
2/12/2015 Wed: Northern Ireland Meeting
2/12/2015 Wed: Epsom Meeting
2/12/2015 Wed: London West Meeting & Solicitor Clinic
3/12/2015 Thu: Cambridgeshire SENDIASS Road Show Seminars For Parents
3/12/2015 Thu: London East (Tower Hamlets)
3/12/2015 Thu: Liverpool-Wirral Meeting