Following separation you will need some time to yourself to relax, unwind and socialise. You may already have a good support network through parents, extended family, friends, child minder and kids clubs etc. For most, however, the best type of practical support is your former partner. Don’t let pride or anger get in the way of valuable support, particularly when you have children. Whatever the other parent has or has not done they need to have an ongoing relationship with their children in most cases. This provides you with valuable time, assistance and care in the school holidays etc. It is usually good for both your children and you.

If your former partner’s relatives have been involved with the children in the past, try and keep that connection alive. This can be difficult. Everyone including non-direct family members will go through a grieving process to some degree. Things can be said in anger. Understand that they are in most cases going to take the side of their son/daughter and again remember you cannot control their thoughts or actions, only your responses. Try and take a step back. Do not get involved in trying to tell them ‘your side of the story’ if they do not want to hear it. Tell them you understand that they are upset or disappointed by what has happened but that you hope differences can be put aside for the children’s sake.

Keep them involved even if initially they seem resistant or ungrateful. Send them school photographs, postcards, Christmas and birthday cards. Continuity is usually good for the children. These relationships can provide you with invaluable support in the future.