Maintaining contact can be very difficult; after separation ex-partners often find it hard to get along and talk about their children in a friendly manner. Unreasonable or even abusive behaviour might have been the cause for the separation in the first place.

For children, the separation of their parents is one of the most unsettling experiences they can face – even small children will know that something has changed and that the adults around them are unsettled. It is essential that both parents do all they can to maintain relationships with the child, and that the parent who does not care day-to-day for the child (the non-resident parent) is considered no less important than the one who does (resident parent). More and more families are opting for ‘shared care’, where a child spends equal time with each parent, to avoid one parent becoming a ‘weekend’ mum or dad.

Abuse and violence are not acceptable. They are damaging to children even when they are not the immediate victims. But separation from a parent or family member or, sometimes, another attachment figure also carries risks for a child.

There are several options are for supporting the relationship between a non-resident parent and their child. The term commonly used for the time the non-resident parent and child spend together is Contact. (It used to be call ‘access’).

It is best for your child if arrangements for contact are agreed as amicably as possible between the two parents. Sometimes grandparents or other family members can help to reach an agreement. As your child’s parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that contact happens, and that you do not obstruct your child from having a relationship with your ex-partner or spouse. If you are struggling to make a reach an agreement on contact, please see our services page for support we can offer you.