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Frequently Asked Questions

How many sessions are there and how long do they last?

Parents generally attend one three-hour session, or two shorter sessions if on a one-to-one basis. We aim to offer two group sessions around the same time, with one during the day and one in the evening, to give both parents the chance to go to different groups.

Will my ex-partner be at the same group?

Parents who have separated generally go to different groups.

Will there be both dads and mums at each group?

Yes, we try to make sure that the groups are mixed so that a range of views are included.

Are there options for parents who live far apart?

Parenting Apart sessions are now available across Scotland, and you can go to one nearest to where you live. Similar programmes are provided in England and Wales.

Is this service available to single parents?

Yes, single parents are welcome to attend. The sessions focus on the separation process, how children might respond and how to communicate effectively with the other parent. You can decide whether this would be helpful for you.

Will I have to talk about my situation?

There will be opportunities for discussion and for parents to share how they are managing living apart from their child’s other parent. It is up to you what or how much you say. Everyone who attends is asked to treat the session as confidential.

Who leads the sessions?

Parenting Apart sessions are run by experienced family mediators or people who have had other experience in working with separating families. The content and structure of the sessions have been developed by Relationships Scotland with input from many trusted sources including similar initiatives in other countries.

Can I not get the information I need from books and the web?

There is a lot of good information out there, but these sessions will give you the opportunity to ask questions. You will also get a chance to hear the perspectives of other parents and the children’s point of view.

When is the right time to attend?

You can come along to a Parenting Apart session at any stage - before, during or a long time after your separation. Any time that you think it would help you to find out how to improve the situation for you and your children.

How does a Parenting Apart group compare with mediation?

At a Parenting Apart group, you can get information and hear from other people. In mediation, you and your child’s other parent meet with a mediator to talk about your situation and agree how you want to move forward. Many parents find that after attending a Parenting Apart session they have a better understanding of what their children need and they can then work out their plans for the future better with the other parent in mediation.

What does it cost?

There is no charge to attend a Parenting Apart session. The Scottish Government supports this service through a Strategic Funding Partnership Grant.

Do I need to make any preparations or bring anything with me?

No, just come along willing to listen and we’ll provide the rest.

After I’ve been to a Parenting Apart session, what other help is available?

The pack that you get at the session includes suggestions for sources of further help. You may want to ask about the mediation service.

I don’t see my children at all at the moment. Can I still come to the session?

Yes, you will almost certainly hear something useful.

Can my child attend with me?

Parenting Apart sessions have been developed for adults. Children can be supported more effectively in other ways. Your local service Find a local service might be able to help with this.

How do I book a place?

Send us an email or contact your nearest local Family Mediation Service.