A good relationship between parents makes a big difference to a child, whether or not you are still living together.

There are a wide range of experts, such as Relate, that provide relationship support to families who need it. In some areas there are relationship support sessions for new mums and dads to help them manage the changes in their relationship as they become parents. There are also marriage preparation courses, counselling and mediation for couples who are experiencing difficulties, and information and advice for both mums and dads on what to do next if a relationship breaks down.

The Relate for Parents site has lots of useful resources to help you work on your family relationships – including your relationship with your children’s other parent.

If you separate, you will both need to work hard to protect your children from the worst effects of separation.  Parents and children alike find the separation process much less distressing if you can resolve everything through mediation rather than involving the courts – check out the Dad Info guide to separation below.

If you are unable to care for your children, either permanently or in the short term, a member of your wider family may be able to step in. Kinship carers are grandparents and other relatives who take on the full-time care of children when their parents are unable to look after them. Around 200,000 grandparents and other family members in the UK are raising a relative’s child, often because of very difficult family circumstances such as parental drug or alcohol abuse, imprisonment, domestic violence, bereavement or serious illness. Kinship carers can face huge difficulties including poverty, lack of support and feelings of stress, isolation and stigma.

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