Parenting Through Separation course

Parenting Through Separation is a free parenting course that's available nationwide.

At the course, you’ll get practical advice to help you understand and manage the needs of your children after separation. Parents and/or guardians attend separate courses, so that everyone has space to freely express themselves without the other person being there.

The Parenting Through Separation course can also help grandparents and other family and whānau members who may be involved in caring for your children.

Most people need to have completed a Parenting Through Separation course within the last two years before asking the Family Court to decide a parenting matter. You’ll receive a completion certificate after the course, which you'll need to show the court as proof of your attendance.

You can locate a Parenting Through Separation course in your area

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When you should attend Parenting Through Separation

Parenting Through Separation is a great first step when you're working out how to care for your children after separating. You also have to attend this course if you want the Family Court to help with parenting matters later on. The course covers:

  • how separation affects children
  • what’s best for children when their parents no longer live together
  • tools and tips for dealing with the separation, including how to make a parenting plan. 

This course may be all you need to sort out how you and your ex-partner will share the care of your children. If you still can’t agree, you can take part in Family Dispute Resolution with an impartial family mediator. The Parenting Through Separation course helps you prepare for Family Dispute Resolution if you need it.

Sometimes taking part in the Parenting Through Separation course won’t be right for you. For example, you might need to apply for an urgent Parenting Order because:

  • you're experiencing family violence
  • your child is at risk
  • your ex-partner is planning to take your child overseas without your permission.

In any of these cases, the court may decide you don't need to attend the course. 

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What to expect at the course

The course is held in small groups and led by an experienced presenter (a facilitator). 

The course takes four hours, which may involve either one full session or two 2-hour sessions (depending on the provider). A support person can attend with you if the person running the course agrees.

An important part of the programme is helping you work out what’s best for your children – based on their age, their usual routines and their relationship with their wider family or whānau. To do this, the course covers:

  • children’s experiences of separation
  • the parents' experience of separation and how this can affect their children
  • the effects of conflict on children
  • how you can help your children deal with separation
  • what the law requires with separation and children
  • options for care arrangements that will work for you and your children
  • parenting with your ex-partner after your relationship has ended
  • other resources and services available, including Family Dispute Resolution.

The course includes opportunities for discussion, but you can choose how much you say about yourself and your separation experience.

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Read about Parenting Through Separation in Māori, Samoan and simplified Chinese

Parenting Through Separation – Māori [PDF, 498 KB]

Parenting Through Separation – Samoan [PDF, 463 KB]

Parenting Through Separation – simplified Chinese [PDF, 551 KB]

Parenting Through Separation - Hindi [PDF, 386 KB]

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