Separating Families

Picture of Man and carrying children through a field

Relationship support services are available for parents having relationship problems. They can have relationship counselling and therapy. When parents decide to separate, they can use the pre-court Family Mediation service but should note that this is provided at a pre court stage. This service is available through Family Mediation NI Pre-court mediation service This service is available through: • Family Mediation NI

How Family Mediation Can Help

Mediation is voluntary. A neutral mediator works with a couple to identify how separation or divorce will affect the family and to find agreement about:

• children

• finance

• property

Support and mediation can help couples develop a better relationship between each other and with their children after the divorce is finalised.

Family Mediation has a main office in Belfast from where the coordination of appointments across towns in NI is arranged.

Family Mediation Barristers

Family Mediation Barristers can be found at Barrister Mediation Services Directory

This Link relates to various types of mediation including Civil, Commercial, Debt, Employment and Family Mediation.

Family Mediation Barristers are indicated alongside their names. All are Quest trained and as such are trained in Child Protection Issues.

Find Support services for Separating Families

Useful Information For Separated Families

Northern Ireland Child Contact Centres provide a safe, neutral and child-centred environment in which children of separated families can spend quality time with the parent they no longer live with. The Centres are seen as a temporary arrangement when there is no viable meeting place for these families.

Child Maintenance Service is regular financial support that helps pay everyday living costs of bringing up a child when parents are separated. It’s for children who are under 16 or under 20 and still in full-time education not higher than A-Level. Child maintenance can help your child’s well-being and the quality of family relationships.

The parent who doesn’t have the day-to-day care (the ‘paying parent’) pays child maintenance to the parent or person who does (the ‘receiving parent’).

Separated parents can arrange child maintenance:

  • privately through a family-based arrangement
  • through a Consent Order from a court
  • through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) 

Separation and Divorce

Separation and Divorce can be a challenging and upsetting time for all involved. But although there may be a lot going on, it's important to make sure the children get the support they need.

Advice From NSPCC about Separation and Divorce

Help and Advice for Separating Parents

Related Documents

FMNI Separation Booklet

Health and Social Care Trust Areas

Last Updated: 06/08/2021