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What support is available for my child(ren)?

You are the greatest support for your child(ren) during this time. We therefore recommend also asking what support is available for me? Friends, therapy, books, podcasts ?

In terms of your child, it is likely that they will already have a support network in place and it is good for them to have continuity where possible. Invest in their existing friendships, extended family and relationships with adults such as music teachers and/or sports coaches. You can think about the role your child’s school and teachers could play at this time – some are better than others and your child may well have an opinion on how involved the school is!

What do I need to be thinking about now?

It can be overwhelming to work out what needs to be prioritised now and what can wait until the family has found its feet again. In the short-term, you will need to work out:

  1. How to tell your child that you are separating
  2. Where your child will be living and when
  3. Which school your child will attend (if they are at school)
  4. If there are any school holidays coming up and how this will affect the arrangements for their care
  5. Whether there are any big occasions coming up, such as birthdays or Christmas, and how your child will spend these
  6. How you will communicate with your child’s other parent, particularly in emergencies.

Who do you work with?

We welcome enquiries from all parents who are separated/divorced and professionals who work with these families. The Paths Through Change approach works particularly well for:

  • Parents who are largely amicable
  • Parents who do not want to involve lawyers
  • Parents who want to prioritise family relationships over securing their ‘legal rights’
  • Families with parenting styles that fall outside the mainstream. Examples include extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, home-schooling and complementary therapies.
  • We do not help parents to resolve financial arrangements.

Are you a lawyer?

Eily Livingstone, the founder of Paths Through Change was practising as a Family Solicitor until Spring 2020. She was recognised by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories and called “a star in the making” while working as a Solicitor. In 2020, Eily stopped practising as a solicitor and so Paths Through Change does not offer legal advice.

Do I have to instruct a lawyer or a mediator?

A solicitor or barrister will be able to tell you what the law says is best for your child and what a judge would be likely to do if they were asked to make a decision. They should also advise you what it will take – in terms of time and cost – to try and achieve your aim. They may also inform you of the risks regarding the impact on your child, your relationship with your child’s other parent and the chances of obtaining a judgment that you want (or one you don’t want).

If you and your child’s other parent are able to agree the arrangements (either by yourselves or with outside assistance), you do not need to involve lawyers. Even if your child’s other parent instructs a lawyer, you can ask them to communicate directly with you.

If your child’s other parent suggests mediation, you can choose whether or not to attend. A mediator may not be legally qualified and cannot force your child’s other parent to do or agree anything. Before you start, a mediator should tell you what you will get out of the process and what it will cost and how long it will take. You can try mediation and stop the sessions if it is not helpful.

If you’re unsure, we suggest talking to others who have used the different processes to hear about their experiences.

Where are you based?

As we originated in Haringey, North London, the majority of our in-person services are delivered here. However, we also have Companions who deliver our befriending service in South London and West Yorkshire. Some services can be delivered entirely online.

Have you got more questions?