Friday 30 November 2012 by Catherine Baksi
Separating parents will be able to find free advice and guidance through a web app released this week by the government.
'Sorting out Separation' provides information about all aspects of separation, from how to avoid a separation to coping with the emotional impact of breaking up, accessing legal or housing support and arranging child maintenance. It includes a link to the Law Society's solicitor-finding service.
The app, developed at a cost of £300,000 by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Justice is offered as a 'widget' to be embedded on websites. So far users include Relate, National Family Mediation, Mumsnet, Dad.info, Gransnet and Wikivorce.
Launching the product at the offices of London law firm TV Edwards, work and pensions minister Steve Webb said: 'Parents tell us they don't know where to turn for support when they're going through a separation. A third of British children now live in separated families and it's vital we help parents to access better advice. Parents working together is in the best interests of the children, and more collaboration helps minimise the impact of separation on them.'
David Emmerson, head of dispute resolution at TV Edwards, said: 'The Sorting out Separation web app is designed to offer free advice and guidance to separating couples and provides many exciting features such as maintenance calculators, tips on co-parenting and how to resolve family dispute without costly and stressful court proceedings.
'It is designed for the DIY enthusiast but also promotes mediation and collaborative law as the way forward. We think the app will prove very popular and is a timely resource,' he said.
A YouGov poll commissioned by the DWP reveals that more than half of parents (52%) find it hard to access help and support they need when they separate. It shows that 39% of parents did not call on professional support when they separated from their partners, which 25% said was because they could not find the right help or support, or felt embarrassed.
Pictured launching the app are DWP minister Steve Webb and Mail on Sunday agony aunt Zelda West-Meads.