Outline of the recently introduced Parenting Apart programme

Family lawyers are all too well aware of the emotional trauma that often derails attempts to negotiate divorce and separation issues in a calm and reasonable manner (Rosanne Cubitt writes). Parents who have decided to separate are overwhelmed by the number of issues they now face, and the stress of having to make plans and decisions with an ex-partner. 

Relationships Scotland has recently launched a new service to help parents to understand what they and their children are going through when they separate. Parenting Apart, similar to the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) in England, provides helpful insights and an opportunity to share experiences. Parents learn about the impact of separation on children, what their children need to hear from them, and gain an understanding of the other parent’s perspective. This helps them to communicate more effectively and negotiate with the other parent in a way that puts their children’s needs at the centre of their decision making.

Participants might go on to mediate, particularly parenting issues such as where their children will live and what time they will spend with each parent. They are likely still to sort out finance and property issues with the help of a solicitor, and will be better equipped to do this calmly and effectively, and with the best interests of their children at the forefront. They are able to respond appropriately to the advice and guidance of their family lawyers and to make best use of this expertise in negotiating settlements.

Available across Scotland, Parenting Apart sessions last about three hours and are delivered to small groups of mums and dads. Ex-partners participate in different sessions. Individual sessions are available in some parts of the country. Sessions are currently free to join, thanks to a Strategic Funding Partnership Grant from the Scottish Government.

The Author
For more information go to www.parentingapart.org.uk, or contact Rosanne Cubitt, Head of Professional Practice at Relationships Scotland: rosanne.cubitt@relationships-scotland.org.uk You can read more, including contributions from participants and some outcomes, here.
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