Splitting Up? Put Kids First aims to help couples who have parted on bad terms to devise a “parenting plan” – “a written or online agreement between parents,” setting down the ways in which they will share care of their children.
“Bringing up children involves lots of joint decisions,” says the charity. “If you are separated, it’s harder to make these decisions and plans as you go along.”
Splitting Up? Putting Kids First is, the charity claims, “the first online parenting plan that helps couple communicate and make arrangements about who will be seeing the children in a businesslike way.”
When creating a plan, parents are able to select from a range of trying circumstances, such as their ex-partner criticising them in front of their children, or finding it hard to control their emotions, to describe their current situation. They then go on to choose various aims for the parenting plan. These include making the situation easier for their children, making clear contact arrangements, and sorting out financial issues.
“Separating parents can become entrenched in their positions. If couples have a very nasty break-up they may find it impossible to work out arrangements for their children. If we can encourage them to think about new childcare needs before it becomes too difficult, that will be much better for everyone.”
OnePlusOne provides online resources and training for couples, parents and “frontline family workers”.