Friends and Relatives

You play an important role in the life of your friend or family member who is going through a relationship breakdown, divorce or separation. They may be looking to you for advice or opinion at times it will be hard not to take sides or get drawn in to the conflict your friend or relative may be experiencing.

Whatever you might think about your friend or family members ex-partner remember that they are still the parent of the children who are caught in the middle of this divorce or separation. The best advice you can give is that they contact a local National Family Mediation mediator who will be able to guide your friend or family member through the emotional and practical upheaval that happens when family relationships breakdown.If your friend or family members asks for your advice, assure them that, with guidance through mediation, they can and will make the decision that is right for their situation. You might also want to help find support services that they will be able to access or ask others who have been in a similar situation to recommend professionals whom they have found helpful, respectful and impartial.

Our trained family medaitors will be able to help your firend or relative resolve issues like;

  • How the children will maintain contact with their parents
  • Where the children are going to live
  • How the family is going to support themselves financially
  • How the children will maintain their schooling, friends and social life
  • How the parents will look after themselves so that their children can be supported through the family changes.

Further Information for Friends and Family Members

It is important to keep children informed at every stage of the separation process.

Encourage your friend or family member to inform their child or children about what is happening. Children don't need every detail, but they do need to know what is going on. They may not wish to be involved in making decisions, but most children will still want to feel they are being listened to. If something is not yet decided, reassure the children that their parents will have the answers as soon as they can.

Co-parenting following separation, divorce or a dissolution of a civil partnership can be tricky and challenging. Your ability as a a friend or a relative to communicate successfully with the child , meet their needs, for safety, support and love will have a positive effect on the child and reassure them of a loving support network around them.

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When parents separate they both remain responsible for the care and financial support of their children. Friends and family members can provide a supporting role in this. Most think it is important for the children’s lives to be affected as little as possible by the separation and for them to have a similar standard of living when they are spending time with each parent. The law takes this view too.

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Relationship breakdown can be a very emotional time for children. Whilst children will react differently, depending on their age, personality and the individual situation, it is common for children to go through a whole range of emotions, which can include denial, anger, self-blame, sadness and withdrawal. However, with space, time and support they will work through their feelings and adjust.

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Your friend or family member affected by separation is likely to go through the grief (loss) cycle. Because we are unique human beings, it is difficult to tell exactly what we will feel and when but it is reassuring to know it’s all normal and won’t last forever. It is important that your friend or relative takes care of themself and their wellbeing during this time, and you can help them to do so in a calm, gentle and supportive manner. 

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NFM is a network of professional family mediation providers based in England and Wales that work with families affected by relational breakdown. All providers aim to help clients achieve an outcome that works best for them and their family

If you would like to get more information about mediation and/or make an appointment you can contact NFM direct on 0300 4000 636 or you can also contact a NFM family mediation provider in your area.

All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.


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