Parents often turn to their friends and family for support when they are dealing with difficult events, such as a separation. They might just need someone to listen to them or they might be looking for information and advice. They may even need you to help them sort out child maintenance.
What sort of help do parents need?
Friends and family can be invaluable to parents coping with separation. You could be in a position to offer comfort, emotional support, or practical help. You may also be able to help them take a balanced look at the situation and find the best solutions for their needs.
Helping someone talk about child maintenance
Some people find it difficult to talk to their child’s other parent. Your friend or relative might need some help with this.
Having a conversation about arrangements for children will involve negotiation and communication. But these are things most of us do every day. You might call them:
- talking and listening
- finding a compromise
You can help your friend or relative by encouraging them to work on these skills.
We have a range of leaflets that can help them with this.
The person you’re trying to help may ask you to be there during the conversation and to act as a "mediator". Acting as a mediator just means "being neutral".
Find out more about mediation.
Helping someone sort out child maintenance.
There is lots of information about child maintenance on this website. You can read this for yourself and tell your friend or relative what you’ve learned, or you could encourage them to read it themselves. You could even do both.
You can also download our leaflets and talk through these with the person you’re trying to help.
If you or your friend or relative would like to talk to someone about child maintenance, call us on 0800 988 0988 for a confidential chat.
Helping someone deal with conflict
Getting involved in an ongoing conflict can be risky, so you should think very carefully before stepping in. Every situation will be different, and there are no set rules for what you should do.
If your friend or relative is involved in domestic abuse or violence you should seek professional advice before doing anything else.
Call one of the organisations in our other useful organisations section and explain the situation with a trained advisor before deciding what to do next.
Getting more help and support
If you need professional advice, there are other useful organisations that can help.