The UK is the divorce capital of Europe. As families split up and re-group, other patterns become established. Step families are formed, half brothers and sisters are born, and parents with children from second marriages are sometimes torn between divided loyalties. But other families proliferate: families where the grandparents have become parents of their children's children; families where one or both parents are gay or lesbian, with custody of a child from a previous relationship; "double" families where perhaps a father shares his time between two families. (Jill Curtis - Making and Breaking Families).
Jill Curtis, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, addresses some of the issues and questions arising from this quite profound social change in her books.
The rise in the number of divorces has meant also an increase in the number of ‘divorced’ grandparents. Divorce hurts. It hurts more than just the couple who split up: the ripples spread far into the extended family and friends. There is an ever-growing number of grandparents who have ‘lost’ a beloved grandchild because of a divorce, where the parent with custody ‘punishes’ the in-laws too. Think of the band of grandparents who for a number of reasons, may find themselves parenting for a second time around, as they take over the full time care of grandchildren.Stepparents
Today, with so many divorces and second marriages, the reality is that many children have two women in their lives, who are often at war with each other, having been brought together by loving the same man. Men can find themselves equally at a loss with ‘instant fatherhood’. But as a stepparent - or indeed a parent - of a child it is important to remember that it takes time to rebuild a family and to think this can happen almost overnight is courting trouble.Single Parents
Each single parent has to find his or her own way of re-assembling the family jigsaw, and this may be with some help from the other parent or not. On balance, the message which comes through is that a parent on his or her own, creating a new family, does feel very vulnerable.
(The above are extracts from the works of Jill Curtis which are designed to answer questions about different family issues and to provide help and information. Jill has written a number of books on families and how they are affected by divorce and separation such as Find Your Way Through Divorce, an invaluable guide to help you get through the process).
In addition to the above, the following websites will be a source of useful information:Adoption Information Line
Designed to provide adoption related information, covering such things as what kind of people adopt, adoption law, what is involved in an adoption home study and much other information.
Promotes the need for estranged parents to play an equal part in the care and upbringing of their children. Has a number of regional branches, and offers help and support to parents, grandparents and other relatives of a child who, as a result of separation or divorce, is experiencing difficulties. Publishes a quarterly magazine covering a wide range of relevant topics.
Produce a series of information packs designed to explain a person's rights and the court precedents with respect to divorce, separation and care proceedings. Packs include General Information (e.g. obtaining school reports, consultation on education, medical consultation), Grandparents Pack, Child Abduction and Enforcement of Overseas contact orders. In addition to giving help and advice, the organisation campaigns for changes in the law. Assistance is also given in writing affidavits, statements etc. and sometimes even a friend can be provided to sit with a person in court if they are litigating in person.
39 Cloonmore Avenue Orpington Kent BR6 9LE
Telephone: 01689 854 343
This site may be of interest in understanding how CAFCASS is meant to work.
The Child Abduction Unit is responsible for administering the work of the European Conventions on Child Abduction. There is also a valuable series of links to other resources both in the UK and overseas relating to the abduction of children.Childcarelink
Childlincarelink is a government site designed to give easy access to childcare facilities in your area as well as an insight into the various types, such as pre-school, childminders, nurseries etc. It is seachable by postcode and provides telephone numbers of local sources of information.
Childline is the national helpline for young people in trouble or danger. In addition to providing help to children, there is assistance for parents, for example in the form publications and factsheets. The latter includes one on the subject of stepfamilies, providing statistics, the worries of stepchildren and how Childline can help.
Unique, independent national charity concerned with law and policy affecting children and young people. The centre runs a free and confidential legal advice and information service covering all aspects of law and policy and is open to children, young people and anyone with concerns about them.
Website:www.childrenslegalcentre.com. Daycare Trust
The Daycare Trust is the national childcare charity. It has been working since 1980 to Daycare Trust promote high quality affordable childcare for all. Their website will help you find out more about childcare and make the right childcare decision for your child.
Represents non-residential parents and their children, and is primarily concerned with the problems with keeping parents and children in contact after family breakdown. A national network of volunteers provides advice and support on children's issues to separated, divorced or unmarried parents. Publishes booklets, information packs and a quarterly journal.
Family Rights Group (FRG) was established as a registered charity in 1974 to provide advice and support for families whose children are involved with social services. FRG works to improve the services received by these families.
Family Lives confidential free phone help line offering a first point of contact and support for up to 60,000 callers each year. It is staffed by volunteers, all with parenting experience. It is for anyone who is parenting a child-as a parent, stepparent, grandparent or someone with a parental role such as a foster carer. Family Lives can act as a gateway to specialist or local support. Over half the calls concern problems with a teenager. The issues covered include truancy, bullying, drugs, physical abuse, teenage pregnancy and suicide. Many others struggle to cope with a new baby or a change in family circumstances such as separation or divorce. Publications are available which provide information on the key pressure points that affect people in changing families.
You can download various booklets and publications from the site - it is a source of very useful suggestions from young people affected directly by divorce, as to how you can provide support.
Fathers 4 Justice (F4J) is a civil rights movement campaigning for a child's right to see both parents and grandparents. The group comprises Fathers, Mothers, Grandparents, Teachers, Doctors, Company Directors, Policemen, Barristers – a complete cross section of society – all whom believe that Britain is needlessly creating a nation of children without parents and parents without children.
Gives advice, information and support to grandparents of children affected by a divorce or separation. It is the only national registered charity for grandparents in the country. It was borne out of anguish: the pain that some grandparents had to bear at seeing their beloved grandchildren adopted from 'care' and yet having no legal means to be heard asking for contact with these children. The organisation aims to find creative solutions to this lack of contact--for both grandparents and grandchildren.
UK support group dedicated to helping dads who are staying at home to bring up their children. Its members are either at home full-time, work part-time or are raising kids on their own.
This leading family support charity offers friendship, support and practical help to families across the UK. The simple approach is to offer the support of one volunteer parent to another parent who is facing difficulties and has at least one child under five.
To be found on the CAFCASS site in pdf format, various online booklets for parents and children answering questions on how children are affected by divorce or separation, explaining how they often feel and making suggestions on how to help them cope.
Kidscape offers help with many problems experienced by young children including bullying. They are based at 2 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH (telephone 020 7730 3300).
Loneparents.org offers help and support to Single-Lone Parents who are maybe finding it difficult to cope alone, (whether they be single mums or single dads) and to those parents who just want a safe and secure place to meet and chat to friends online, make new friends or find some mutual support from others in the same situation.
A nation-wide support network for women living apart from their children, run by volunteers who are or who have been "mothers apart", usually through divorce or separation.
A National charity with 276 member centres around the country which provide neutral venues where the children of separated families can enjoy contact with one or both parents
"Talking to children about divorce" (reviewed by Dr Joanne M. Lee, GP) provides some useful information on how divorce affects children and how you can make it less painful for them.One Parent Families Scotland
As well as providing an insight into the crucial role this organisation plays in supporting lone parent families in Scotland, the site also contains a wealth of information, for example, in the form of online factsheets on subjects including benefits, housing issues and costs, health, maintenance etc. Amongst many others, there is also information on holidays for single parents and details of Trust Funds where general assistance may be sought by one parent families.
Although not a Government site, Opportunity Links is a voluntary organisation which provides information free of charge, via the internet and touchscreen kiosks, to those who have a need to find out about jobs, training and childcare facilities. For example, there is information on childcare and Working Families Tax Credit (including a calculator).National Society for Children and Family Contact (NSCFC)
When a relationship breaks down it isn’t just the partners who suffer. It’s the children who have most to lose; and not just because of the stress of seeing their parents at odds. They also risk losing contact with one of their parents and with that parent’s family too. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins: half their family; half their life, can be devastated by parental acrimony. The NSCFC believes that continuing contact with a child’s extended family is vital for the child’s balanced development, and it works to foster those all-important family contacts.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is the UK's leading charity specialising in child protection and the prevention of cruelty to children. It is the only children's charity in the UK with statutory powers enabling it to act to safeguard children at risk. The NSPCC exists to: prevent children suffering significant harm as a result of cruelty; protect children who are at risk of such harm; help children who have suffered cruelty to overcome its effects; and to work to protect children from further harm. There is a "Kids Zone" on the site.
A shared parenting and joint custody support group based in Ireland which provides voluntary self-help support for both men and women, promoting equal treatment for both as parents. It provides information to parents who are having difficulty keeping contact with their children or having custody/access difficulties. There is information and advice available not only to those in Ireland, but relevant to any families who find themselves with custody difficulties.
P4P Wales/Cymru are a direct action Parent Group demanding reforms within the Welsh and UK Family Law Justice system in order to protect children and help parents who are denied contact.
This website aims to stimulate debate and research on important issues affecting today's families and learn from other's experiences. As well as information on Parental Alienation Syndrome, there are useful links to similar sites.
Reunite is the recognised charity specifically dealing with the problem of parental child abduction and international custody disputes. Its main objective is to provide a telephone advice line offering practical advice and information on the issue of parental child abduction and international custody disputes.
If you are looking to move or want more information on local schools view the last OFSTED report, the database organised by type of school and location.
The mission of SPIG is to promote responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce as well as making available information, research and resources to all concerned.
SPAN represents one parent families across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Its membership includes small single parent self-help groups, individual single parents, large charitable organisations and all kinds of support groups which are concerned in some way with supporting the needs of one parent families. Its members may be divorced, separated, never married, heterosexual or gay and from many different backgrounds and cultures. SPAN also makes available grants for development and self-help, as well as publishing a newsletter for its members and running training courses.
Solo Parents Network is an online social club for any single parent at any stage of single parenting. . It is dedicated to making healthy changes and relationships. Single parents share and provide resources, inform, introduce and help in the lives of other single parents.
A useful site offering parents help, friendship and support. There are many interactive areas where you can meet other parents and share experiences, advice, find the latest news and views. There is also a comprehensive information database.
YoungMinds is the national charity committed to improving the mental health of all children and young people. The site provides details of the telephone helpline, leaflets, booklets, seminars and training provided by the charity.