Family support experts are on a mission to put couples going through the upheaval of divorce, on course for a more positive future.
The FamilyFocus Lincolnshire Consultancy said the growing incidence of family break-up, has encouraged the organisation to offer a programme designed to help mums and dads – who find themselves ‘parenting at a distance’ and struggling with its impact on their children – to ‘couples and individuals’ outside its home county.
The independent Community Interest Company (CIC) said that divorce changes the dynamics of parenting for divorcing couples when one of the partners is no longer living with their children every day or is having to care for them alone and it is keen to help parents in other parts of the UK, as well as Lincolnshire.
Issues can crop up which they may not have foreseen and life can turn out to be scary.
Chief Executive Office Hilary Sharpe said, ‘Dealing with divorce through the courts can be fraught with difficulties and often children can start to feel lost as each party makes counter-allegations.
“The need for parents to take time out, have space to think and work out how they really feel is hard to find. Yet years of experience have taught us that having that space and opportunity to work through some of the issues surrounding divorce is crucial.
“It is vital if young people are to avoid struggling with what is a massive change in their lives and those of their parents.”
Mrs Sharpe said adults may suddenly realise they need to acquire new skills and that taking action could make the difference between how often, or not, they see their children in the future.
“There are not many programmes that offer divorced parents the opportunity to address the practical, as well as the emotional, issues linked to divorce.
“That is why we feel we are filling a gap with ours, which aims to give them the chance to consider the needs of their children and re-establish or maintain the relationship they had them before their marriage breakdown.”
FamilyFocus Consultancy Lincolnshire is spreading the word about its Parenting Re-defined programme in the wake of the latest statistics (2016) which show that nationally there were more than 106,950 divorces involving opposite-sex couples – a rise of 5.8 per cent on 2015. These figures do not include same-sex divorces. (Source: ONS)
This is 30 per cent down on the peak period seen in 2003 (and is in line with a decline in marriages over the same period). The most common grounds for divorce are cited as unreasonable behaviour).
The Lincolnshire Consultancy’s programme is taking the form of either a seven-week course – with weekly sessions lasting three hours – or a more condensed programme over a shorter period of time.
“Sessions will be led by both a man and a woman and delivered flexibly and we are keen to work with people in both a “teaching” and a “home” setting. The course will be followed up by telephone support or Skype and/or home visits,” added Mrs Sharpe.
Referrals/enquiries can be made by statutory, voluntary, legal or community organisations and people can also self-refer. The cost for taking part in the Parenting Re-defined programme is available to individuals and couples, on request.
The Parenting Re-defined programme can also be used as evidence for court purposes, showing that a parent or parents have fully explored how this life-changing period will impact on their family.
FamilyFocus Consultancy Lincolnshire works with families in a variety of ways, offering preventative and early intervention for those facing difficulties, crisis support and support for adults with autism within the working environment.
The CIC is committed to work with families for prolonged periods (in some cases for up to 10 years) and it ploughs any earnings back into the development of the organisation.