Free online service offers separating couples support ahead of changes to the family justice system

14 April 2014

Leading relationship research charity OnePlusOne has created Splitting Up? Put Kids First, an innovative, free online service to help separating couples continue to parent in the best way possible, despite their break-up.

The government has made major changes to the family justice system. As a result of the new Children and Families Act 2014, which comes into force on April 22. Under the changes, it will be mandatory for separating couples to attend a MAIM (mediation, information and assessment) meeting to find out about mediation before they are allowed to take disputes over finances or child custody to court.

OnePlusOne’s new service has been designed to help parents work out arrangements for the children themselves, and as early into a break-up as possible, reducing the need to go court.

It aims to help parents create a joint parenting plan to sort out arrangements for their children in the most amicable way. The charity is particularly keen to get dads who are less likely to seek face-to-face support using the service. Evidence shows that men prefer accessing online services than other kinds of support.

Latest government figures show that more than half (52%)1 of parents say they find it hard to access the support they need when they separate. There are a quarter of a million separated parents in Britain2 and the number of single parents with dependent children in 2012 was recorded as just under 2million.3
A growing number of fathers don’t live with their children. Just under one million (980,000) men in the UK have children under 16 years old 4 who they do not live with.  The number of single parent households in the UK has tripled over the past 30 years, according to latest Office for National Statistics data. 5

Penny Mansfield CBE, director of OnePlusOne said: “Separation is  a major upheaval in the lives of parents and  children, so having access to support early on  is critical to meeting children’s needs and keeping them connected to each parent and other family members such as grandparents.

“OnePlusOne’s innovative online service  Splitting up? Put Kids first is available free, anytime from anywhere and  is designed to equip  mothers and fathers with the knowledge and skills they need to make a workable parenting plan – by themselves.

“Since it’s online, the parenting plan can be revised as circumstances change, providing separated parents with a communication channel to continue to meet  the needs of their children as they grow.”

Splitting Up? Put Kids First is available in Welsh and English. It has been created to Double A accessibility standard so people with visual impairment can use it.

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For more information please contact Nadia Gilani at OnePlusOne on 020 7553 9538 or email nadia.gilani@oneplusone.org.uk

Notes to editors

1 DWP (2013) Government funds new innovative support for separating parents (results of a YouGov Poll) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-funds-new-innovative-support-for-separated-parents

2 DWP (2013) Government funds new innovative support for separating parents,  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-funds-new-innovative-support-for-separated-parents

3 ONS (2012) Lone Parents with Dependent Children, http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171780_251303.pdf

4  Modern Fatherhood, Modern Fatherhood, 2013 http://www.modernfatherhood.org/publications/what-do-we-know-about-non-resident-fathers/

5 Survey shows proportion of one-parent households tripled over 40 years, 2013. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/mro/news-release/survey-shows-proportion-of-one-parent-households-tripled-over-40-years/genlifesurveynr0313.html

About OnePlusOne

  • OnePlusOne is an evidence-based charity that has been researching what makes couple relationships work or fall apart for more than 40 years.
  • The charity creates services based on the latest evidence to help people to resolve relationship difficulties themselves.
  • It also provides online training for frontline family workers to equip them with the skills to offer timely relationship support in a face-to-face setting.
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