Reframing Support for Families following Parental Separation

The Family Solutions Group is a multi-disciplinary group of professionals who work with parents and children from separated families.  It was set up by Sir Stephen Cobb in 2020 to consider what can be done to improve the experience of children and families before any application is made to the family court.  The theme that was woven throughout all discussions was the need to restore the child to the centre in systems which currently operate for parents.

The Family Solutions Group report ‘What about me?’ was published in November 2020.  

“Those of us working in the system long for a better way of helping children, of helping parents to resolve what are, in effect, relationship difficulties when they break up.” 

President of the Family Division, November 2020

#whataboutme

A short film of quotes by children and young people whose parents live apart.

The Family Solutions Group (FSG) seeks to promote a society where children can thrive when their parents live apart. Research clearly shows that the way parents handle their separation directly affects their children. 

We must protect children and improve both childhood and parent experiences when families separate.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act introduces no-fault divorce as from 6 April 2022.  This end to the blame-game is a perfect opportunity to re-frame our understanding of family separation and prioritise child welfare.

Children Come First

All children and young people should feel safe in their homes and have the opportunity to thrive.

Early Assessment

We need a system which will hold families through the turbulence of break-ups and protect children.  

Parent Support

Parents need support to cope with emotions following separation and to help them to make wise decisions for their child.

Education

We must leave behind our historic and outdated misconceptions about family breakdown. 

Politics

The needs of children and their parents in the aftermath of separation fall into a political void. 

The task of identifying, developing and then funding a better way to achieve good enough co-parenting between separated parents is a matter for society in general, policymakers, government and, ultimately Parliament; it is not for the judges. My purpose today is, therefore, simply to call out what is going on in society’s name, and at the state’s expense, and invite others to take up that call.

President of the Family Division,
Resolution Conference Keynote speech, April 2019