Your Parenting Plan

A guide to making practical arrangements for your children if you live apart.

Sources of support, advice and information


This is a service for parents to help them to agree their own arrangements for their children through meetings with a family mediator. The family mediator helps parents to talk things through and to focus on what their children need. Parents can gain skills to manage conflict, communicate effectively and move forward positively. Grandparents and other family members can use family mediation to address issues between them about their children.

Parents and other family members can find out about how child contact centres can help to maintain relationships when it would otherwise prove very difficult.

To find a family mediator, family mediation service or child contact centre near you, contact:

Relationships Scotland
18 York Place
Tel: 0345 119 2020

CALM Scotland – Family mediators who are also practising lawyers.
Tel: 0141 889 6244

Scottish Mediation – Information on mediation services across Scotland.

18 York Place
Helpline: 0131 556 8118
Tel: 0131 556 1221


When going through a separation or divorce, relationship counselling can help. Counsellors work with people to help them understand other points of view, to enable them to see their situation more clearly and to work through particular issues which impact on their relationships. Understanding emotions and feelings can help to improve communication and clear the way for a more positive route forward.

The following specialist organisations offer relationship counselling in Scotland:

Relationships ScotlandContact details listed under "Family Mediation"

The Spark
72 Waterloo Street Glasgow G2 7DA
Counselling enquiries: 0808 802 0050
Relationship helpline: 0808 802 2088


Parenting Apart Sessions are for parents who are separating or living apart to find out how to handle the challenges of living apart in a way that's best for everyone. They provide information and insights on what to consider when making arrangements for your children, as well as an opportunity to talk. Sessions are usually for a group of mums and dads, but individual sessions may also be available.

To book a session, contact Relationships Scotland (c ontact details listed under "Family Mediation).


The family group conference process is led by a trained co-ordinator. It involves members of the extended family and others who can contribute to planning for the future wellbeing, care and protection of a child.

Some local authorities offer family group conferencing (find their contact details online or in The Phone Book).

The charity Children 1st will also be able to give you information on Family Group Conferences (see 'support for Families' for details).


Going to see a solicitor does not mean going to court but you will be able to access information about how best to resolve the difficulties in your family.

Family Law Association solicitors will be able to assist in giving advice in relation to child related matters where this is required, and deal with families in all forms of disputes and are sensitive to the problems they face. Some Family Law Association solicitors will be accredited by the Law Society as specialists. Others may be trained in different forms of alternative dispute resolution such as family mediation, collaborative practice and arbitration.

To find a family law solicitor, please visit the Family Law Association website –

To find a family law solicitor trained in family mediation, you can consult the CALM Scotland website –

To find a family law solicitor trained in Collaborative Practice, you can consult the Consensus Scotland website –

The process of Collaborative Family Law can be used where agreements are reached by round-table discussions with all parties and their solicitors working together.

To find a family law solicitor trained in arbitration, visit the FLAGS website –

The Law Society of Scotland website can also provide details of solicitors in your area, visit –

The Scottish Legal Aid Board – Advice on getting help with the cost of any legal proceedings.
Thistle House
91 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5HE
0131 226 7061

Scottish Child Law Centre – Free legal advice for and about children and young people.
54 East Crosscauseway
Tel: 0131 667 6333


Your local Citizens Advice Bureau offers free, impartial advice, support and information on all matters to do with the law and your rights, including family issues.

You can find details of your local office by visiting the Citizens Advices Scotland website – – or by calling 0808 800 9060


Child Maintenance Options – A free service that provides impartial information and support to help separated parents make decisions about their child maintenance arrangements. Operated on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.
Helpline: 0800 988 0988

Advice may also be sought from a solicitor. See 'Legal Advice' section above for contacts.


Parentline – Scotland's national advice and support helpline for anyone caring for or concerned about a child. Available 365 days a year.
Tel: 0800 028 2233

Kinship Care – Support and advice for grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and other relatives who look after children no longer living with their parents.
Call Parentline – see above for details

Children 1 st – Help with parenting skills, information and advice.
83 Whitehouse Loan
Tel: 0131 446 2300

Relationships Scotland – See details listed under "Family Mediation".

Parenting Across Scotland – Advice and information for families, parents, carers and professionals working with families in Scotland.
Level 1
Rosebery House
9 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5EZ
Tel: 0131 313 8816

Barnardo's Scotland – Support for families with young children.
111 Oxgangs Road North
EH14 1ED
Tel: 0131 446 7000

One Parent Families Scotland – Support, information and advice for lone parents.
13 Gayfield Square
Tel. 0131 556 3899
Helpline: 0808 801 0323

Equality Network – Parenting information for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans people.
30 Bernard Street
Tel: 0131 467 6039

Families Need Fathers Scotland – Support for parents, children and other close family members of families dealing with the effects of divorce or separation.
10 Palmerston Place
EH12 5AA
Tel: 0131 557 2440
National Helpline: 0300 0300 363

Fathers Network Scotland – A charity with a focus on dads who believe that the family and society as a whole benefit when fathers are involved in the life of their children.
The Melting Pot
5 Rose Street
Edinburgh EH2 2PR
Tel: 0131 510 0445


Childline – Confidential chat, support and advice for children up to the age of 19 on any issue.
Call 0800 1111 at any time or visit to email a counsellor, ask a question, or chat 1-2-1 online.

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People ( SCCYP) – Information, advice and a campaigning voice on children and young people's rights in Scotland.
Rosebery House
9 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5EZ
Young People's Freephone: 0800 019 1179
Text: 0770 233 5720

Scottish Child Law Centre – Free legal advice for and about children and young people.
54 East Crosscauseway
Tel: 0131 667 6333
Helpline: 0800 328 8970 (for young people)

Young Scot – Information & opportunities for young people in Scotland.
Rosebery House
9 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5EZ
Infoline: 0808 801 0338


Shelter Scotland – Advice on all issues connected with housing and homelessness.
Scotiabank House
Helpline: 0808 800 4444


Scottish Women's Aid – Is the lead organisation in Scotland working towards the prevention of domestic abuse.
To find your local Women's Aid service please visit:

National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline Scotland: 0800 027 1234 (any time)

Shakti Women's Aid – Help for black minority ethnic ( BME) women, children and young people who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic abuse.
57 Albion Road
Tel.: 0131 475 2399

LGBT Helpline Scotland – Information and emotional support for LGBT people, their families, friends and supporters, including those who have experienced domestic abuse.
Helpline: 0300 123 2523

"I was terrified they'd make this big happy family and that'd be me forgotten about. When my ex said we should look at the Plan now they were living together I thought this is it."

"We changed some things but mostly it made me realise there was still a huge place for me. They are happy together, but that's good! It doesn't bother me so much – I'm still her dad."


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