When families separate, it can be difficult for everyone. Parenting Apart is a one-off group or individual session that can help you to understand what you and your children are going through, help your children to cope and plan for the future.
You and your ex-partner will attend a different 3-hour group or individual session and receive information and support so that you can make parenting apart work for your children.
Parenting Apart is usually delivered by zoom. If you need a face-to-face appointment, please let us know.
We strongly recommend attendance at a Parenting Apart group in preparation for Family Mediation. If you would be interested in doing this, please let our Service Administrator team know, so that referrals for both services can be coordinated accordingly.
Attendance at a Parenting Apart group is free if you live in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or Moray.
An individual Parenting Apart session costs £60. You may be able to get Legal Aid to help you to pay for this, and you should speak to your solicitor or to Citizens Advice in the first instance about this.
Avenue is a charity and we work hard to keep our fees as low as we can so that anyone who needs our support can access our services. Please get in touch if you would like an individual session, you are not able to access Legal Aid, the child lives in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or Moray, and you are on benefits or a low income. We may be able to offer free or reduced cost services thanks to the support of a range of funders including: Aberdeen City Common Good Fund, Aberdeenshire Council, Moray Council, Tesco Community Fund and the Scottish Government.
We’d been married for 15 years when we decided to get divorced. Things had been going wrong for a few years but we had hung on for the sake of our kids 14, 10 and 7 years old. Making the decision to separate was terrifying. I wasn’t sure how we’d all cope, but living in an unhappy marriage was no life for any of us.
I decided to see a solicitor and find out the reality of getting divorced. She went over the finances, my legal rights, how to divide up our home, all of which was overwhelming enough, but then she asked what we planned to do about the children. I froze. I never considered that they wouldn’t live with me full-time and see their Dad at weekends. At that point I realised there was so much more to think about and discuss and I started to panic. How could we possibly sort all these things out? Simon, my Ex and I could barely talk to each other anymore.
My solicitor suggested I attend a Parenting Apart Group at AVENUE. I wasn’t keen. I felt so vulnerable and to be in front of a group of strangers seemed awful. She explained that it wasn’t a workshop so I didn’t have to participate if I didn’t want to, and if Simon agreed, he would attend a separate session. She also said the groups were small, a mix of separated parents, men and women and it would be a one-off session. I agreed to give it a try.
It was so much better than I’d expected. Initially I was nervous, but being around other people in a similar boat really helped me to relax. The two facilitators discussed the needs of separated parents but mainly the needs of children. They spoke a lot about the impact of separation and divorce on children, explaining it from a child’s perspective. They gave examples of the kind of things children say as they work directly with children and teenagers. It was quite shocking and sad to hear those things. It was a wake-up call and did help me to see things differently.
We had the opportunity to ask questions at any point which was really helpful and at the end of the session, the facilitators ensured we all had a plan for how to proceed. They asked how we were going to make decisions together as parents and how we could improve our communication. To be honest, I didn’t have the answers because communication between Simon and I was terrible. After attending the group, I couldn’t stop worrying that we were making our children more unhappy or scared, so I made an appointment for mediation.
The thought of going to a group had filled me with dread, but now I’d recommend it to anyone who’s separating. It really helped me to see things differently and look at how we were handling things. It’s very hard to do that on your own when you think you are falling apart.