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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 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
http://www.hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk/articles/anxiety.html

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

 

  • More worrying figures come out of the Ministry of Justice to highlight the rise in claims of domestic abuse. It is an unsettling coincidence that increased allegations of abuse appear to be a means for obtaining legal aid on the part of (mainly) women, and that this phenomenon seems to align with the removal of legal aid for other claims in the family court. It's hardly likely that since the cuts in legal aid, all these men have suddenly turned violent! In our own experience we come across many parents - also mostly men - whose children have clearly lost out due to unfounded allegations being made against their dads AND due to their mothers (only) obtaining legal again when neither party can afford expensive legal representation. So things are getting worse and the courts absolutely must make a stand and ensure that making unfounded or deliberately falsified sworn allegations in the family court are treated as perjury - just as they would be in most other courts. As the following article implies, not only the courts must make a stand, but the legal profession and others need to make sure that abusing the courts with false allegations is unacceptable. Besides, deliberately denying or subverting children's rights to a proper relationship with both their parents is a form of abuse which must not be condoned. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3435462/Huge-rise-domestic-violence-claims-legal-aid-clampdown-Figures-reveal-assault-allegations-doubled-ministers-axed-funding-divorce-cases.html

    MPs and campaigners believe cuts to legal aid made in the UK in 2013 have encouraged separating couples to make false or exaggerated claims of violence in order to avoid divorce costs.
    dailymail.co.ukMPs and campaigners believe cuts to legal aid made in the UK in 2013 have encouraged separating couples to make false or exaggerated claims of violence in order to avoid divorce costs.

    2016-02-08T12:23:45+0000
  • Why is it that inadequacies in the family law system are taking so long to fix? It's not rocket science, is it? Perhaps more like a need for modern and effective management. Great though it is, it's not enough for those at the top of organisations such as the Family Court, CAFCASS and others to transmit good guidance and great aspirations to their colleagues down the food chain - They also have an obligation to actually make better practice happen! Below is a link to some very pertinent comments from our friend Mike Robinson about this. Please read about the issues and some of the evidence of what we feel should be done about them. But then, what is the answer? One answer is for the Courts and for CAFCASS to properly - and perhaps independently - monitor the outcomes of cases, especially the intractable ones, over the years (and not just the hearings) that many of these cases take to play out. Through the ineffectiveness of the system in dealing with intractable cases, many children lose touch with one parent (usually dad) and the associated grandparents, friends and other relatives. And yet, still no good solution is evident. Proper records must be kept of the often devastating consequences for the children and the parents of allowing insufficiently monitored operatives to roam roughshod over guidance using (or sometimes completely ignoring) instead superficial forms and a tickbox mentality. "Tickbox Twits" and others who do not uphold the state's duty to ensure that separated parents behave responsibly should be identified. Failure in this duty should rightly be seen as abuse of their position of trust whether judge, social worker or indeed parent. What Mike Robinson says makes sense to us and it begs the overused but very apt expression: Who will guard the guardians? Who will make sure that Family Law and its infrastructure are properly accountable to the people who depend on it for effective justice? Tick boxers and others who do not uphold the state's duty to properly ensure that separated parents behave responsibly should be identified. Failure in this duty should rightly be seen as abuse of their position of trust whether judge, social worker or indeed parent. What Mike Robinson says makes sense to us and it begs the overused but very apt expression: Who will guard the guardians? Who will make sure that Family Law and its infrastructure are properly accountable to the people who depend on it for effective justice? Please also share on Twitter with hashtag #familylaw

    F (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 1315 is yet another case involving alienation where the handling of the case by the lower court was 'wholly inadequate'. Not my opinion (actually it is, and I agree...), but that of the Lords Justice who heard the appeal.
    thecustodyminefield.comF (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 1315 is yet another case involving alienation where the handling of the case by the lower court was 'wholly inadequate'. Not my opinion (actually it is, and I agree...), but that of the Lords Justice who heard the appeal.

    2016-02-04T15:32:26+0000
  • The case for responsible and civilised shared parenting is becoming more obvious with every passing day. Here's a report from the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jan/24/sharing-custody-childrens-mental-health-divorce-separation

    Divorce and separation can have a hugely detrimental impact on children. But Swedish studies show that having them live with each parent half the time is the best way to help them cope
    theguardian.comDivorce and separation can have a hugely detrimental impact on children. But Swedish studies show that having them live with each parent half the time is the best way to help them cope

    2016-01-27T20:53:13+0000
  • In September last year we had an opportunity to put some constructive proposals to Sir James Munby President of the Family Division. These proposals related to contact enforcement, parental alienation and intractable disputes in the family courts. The full text of the proposals is available via the link below. We believe that increasingly senior members of the family court wish to see modern attitudes better reflected in judgements throughout the land. We very much hope that our proposals to Sir James will lead to more comprehensive practice guidance and that these will help to drive long overdue change - especially in the lower courts where the need for change is greatest. Often the changes required are in ensuring that CAFCASS and other social services and local authorities do their jobs in line with the rules which are there to bind them. We very much hope the lower family courts will take a keener interest in ensuring that justice is done and seen to be done for the sake of our children and of their parents. http://fnf.org.uk/news-events-2/meetings-with-sir-james-munby

    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.
    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.

    2016-01-18T10:58:29+0000

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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