Separated Parents Information Programme
A SPIP sounds like something you get caught between your teeth…….in fact the Separated Parents Information Programme is a course which helps you understand how to put your children first while you are separating, even though you may be in dispute with your child’s other parent. The course helps parents learn the fundamental principles of how to manage conflict and difficulties – that has to be a good thing.
Anyone can choose to attend and there are organisations all over the country who run courses – just Google ‘SPIP provider’ and it will take you to the web site of the excellent court welfare service – CAFCASS. There you can find a provider who can organise a course in an area local to you.
You will not attend the same session as your ex-partner. In some areas it is free to attend – you can contact your local provider for more information.
If you wish to attend SPIP in Wales (where the equivalent is Working Together for Children) you should contact Cafcass Cymru
Being ordered to attend by the court
If you have already made an application to the court for an order in relation to your child, the courts have the power, by making a court order, to ‘direct’ parents to attend a programme aimed at promoting safe contact with children. Cafcass is usually asked to advise the court if it is suitable for you.
If you are ordered to go to a SPIP, there is no charge for Cafcass service users to attend.
So what do people say about SPIPs?
Most people who have attended advise to go with an open mind; be prepared toaccept that maybe how you have always done things isn’t the best way. Be willing to listen – like much in life, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.
You will NOT be judged and this is NOT a ‘blame’ forum or court. The emphasis is on the future and thinking about how to make the separation easier for the children by improving communication with your ex-partner. It’ll help you to see things from another point of view and to understand how your child might view the situation, how s/he may be feeling. A SPIP will explain how to avoid confrontation and deflect potential conflict. These are valuable lessons in any walk of life, let alone when you are in the emotional turmoil of divorce or separation.
If you get the opportunity – go. Better still, don’t wait for a court order, make it one of the first things you do as a newly separated parent.
Good luck, make the most of it – and realise that learning can be fun!
If you are looking for advice regarding your divorce or any other family matters, our family team will be happy to help.