North East’s leading Children’s specialist solicitor, Anna Hunter of top Newcastle family law solicitors, Major Family Law, looks at who is there to support the children when families split up.

Statistics suggest that almost half of all couples who divorce in England and Wales have at least one child aged under 16 living in the family, while studies show children affected by family breakdown are:

  • 75% more likely to fail at school
  • 70% more likely to become addicted to drugs
  • 50% more likely to have alcohol abuse problems
  • 40% more likely to have serious debt problems

Children can all too easily be neglected by warring parents and their own distress can be overlooked. The effects of the breakdown of their parents’ relationship can affect their self-esteem confidence, education, future relationships and future career. There is limited help for these children to support their mental and emotional well-being.

Although there are improvements being made within the legal system to allow children an active voice within legal proceedings following family breakdown, this does not address the immediate and personal needs of most children caught in the middle of their parents’ separation.

Kids in the Middle is a registered charity backed by young people and by family law and mediation firms, which exists to provide direct online help to children and young people whose parents are separating.

It is the only place online where young people can hear the stories of their peers. It’s a site for young people, by young people, currently supporting 11-18 year olds, although they aspire to support younger children too in due course.

They have partnered with MindFull, an online counselling and support service for young people to provide a peer mentoring and counselling service. They have also partnered with online sites OnlyDads and OnlyMums, supporting single parents. Each website is a portal for advice and signposting to relevant services and support, with a panel of experts (e.g. housing, benefits, debt) and a Family Law Panel available to provide free advice and help.

Help is available if you know where to look. Here at Major Family Law, not only are we a member of the Family Law Panel for OnlyDads and OnlyMums, but we take a holistic approach to providing advice and support and uniquely offer the facility of an independent family counsellor, a service designed exclusively to assist you to deal with your personal circumstances at a stressful and traumatic time, and which provides support for individuals, couples, families and children.

If you think you or your children have been affected by the breakdown of your relationship, here are some useful links which may help:-