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Getting emotional support

Emotional support can help you get through the stress of making child arrangements.

You’re more likely to reach an agreement if you’re emotionally ready and know where to get support if you need it.

Peer support

Your family and friends are likely to be the greatest source of support.

You can also try using online forums or attending group meetings to speak with people who have been through a similar experience.

Use online forums

Online forums allow you to share your story, tell people how you’re feeling and discuss any concerns you have.

You can get advice from others by posting a question or sharing your story.

The following are examples of helpful forums:

Find a group near you

Look for a family meet-up group or single parents network in your area. Both work in the same way as forums but the focus is usually on meeting face to face.

Professional advice

You should consider professional advice (for example seeing a counsellor or attending meetings) if you feel you’re struggling to cope.


A professional counsellor can help you understand issues such as:

  • how to reduce emotional stress
  • the effect disputes have on your children
  • why your relationship with the other parent ended

Contact the Samaritans if you need to speak to someone urgently.

Average cost of a counsellor

£35 - £60

Cost based on a 50-minute session. Fees may vary depending on your location and the experience of the counsellor. Some counsellors offer reductions if you’re unemployed or on a low income.

Find a counsellor

Parenting advice

The Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) helps you understand how to put your children first and manage disputes with the other parent.

A judge may direct you to attend a SPIP if you take your case to court. You won’t go to the same meeting as the other parent.

There are similar programmes in Wales and Scotland.

Cost of SPIP per person


It may be free to attend in some areas.

Search for a SPIP

Emotional readiness

Emotional readiness is being able to put aside your own feelings and any negative thoughts about the other parent. If you’re emotionally ready you’ll have a better chance of making an agreement that’s in the best interests of your children.

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has more information on what you need to do to become emotionally ready.

Getting emotional support resources

Find out more about counselling

Relate has a free online chat service. Sessions last around 25 minutes.

Relate also has a telephone service that costs £55 per hour.

Getting it right for children is a free programme which uses real life situations to show how things can go wrong - and how you can do them better.

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