We know how difficult family breakdown and living in separate homes can be. Our one-off Parenting Apart Groups can help you to…
You and your ex-partner attend a different 3 hour group. Sessions are free and run at various dates and times.
To find out more about Parenting Apart
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.