Separation, Divorce and Blended Families


Separation and divorce is a very difficult time for the entire family.

In such circumstances, people often feel “dissed”; dissatisfied, discontent, disconnection, disharmony, disappointment and disillusionment.  Once couples, or one of the partners, decides to end the romance, the relationship quickly begins to degenerate, break down and deteriorate. Of course, this makes sense when one considers that there is no longer a contract, a clear set of contractual obligations or, simply put, no agreed upon relationship structure to guide discussions and decision-making. This leads to relative chaos which has often existed for months or years before the actual separation date.

No structure is required after a break-up… as long as you don’t have children, parental obligations or shared pets with your mate. In these situations it is important for those who are hurting to put their personal efforts into self-care, analyzing potential ways to improve intra-personal and interpersonal skills and towards acceptance of the grieving and mourning that normally accompanies significant loss.

What About When We Share Children?

When partners share children, separation is only in part. While grieving the loss of the romantic part of their connection, and without an agreed upon road-map, co-parents are simultaneously r


equired to navigate the day-to-day tasks, decision-making and relating of co-parenting… and are to strive to do so cooperatively.

“As less and less communication between parents often follows separation, most parents find co-parenting exceedingly difficult, frustrating and downright overwhelming at times.  In the absence of any meaningful knowledge base about post separation adjustment, parents can easily make many unnecessary and hurtful decisions.”  

This usually results in emotional upset among family members and troubling regressive behaviours in children. Eventually, parents acknowledge their limitations with resolving such a complex emotionally-loaded situation, seeking some reprieve and relief from the emotional imbalance and turmoil.


While most people want to and aim to function as well as before, intense emotional experiences, children’s and co-parents’ reactions along with our thoughts, feelings and behaviours may interfere, preventing them from moving forward effectively:

  • You may experience feelings of guilt, sadness, helplessness, hopele

    ssness, inadequacy, unworthiness, and abandonment

  • Perhaps you are questioning if it is possible to love again, re-marry, and/or introduce a new partner into your family
  • You may carry a tremendous amount of worry about the emotional well-being of your children. Will they hate you or your co-parent… both? Will they take your spouse’s side? Will their self-esteem, relationships with others, or schoolperformance be impacted?

We understand that it is difficult to bounce back from such emotional difficulties and challenges. Making important decisions and adjustments and staying positive at this highly emotional time is quite difficult due, in part, to the following factors:

  • intensity of emotions,
  • higher than normal stress levels
  • limited training on adjusting well after a break-up
  • age and stage of children and family
  • unforeseen numerous practical changes following marital separation
  • extended family choosing sides and fuelling tensions
  • cost associated with family court and adversarial systems
  • minimal awareness of the resources available to help
  • perpetuation of the “blame game” which drains energy’
  • conflict style and skill level
  • capacity for forgiveness, compassion and acceptance
  • +

Once separated, parents are well advised to find a way (ASAP) to move past the hurt of romantic breakup and develop a strategy to create and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship. The sooner this occurs, the less likely negative coparenting patterns will develop.


We help families effectively cope with, or adapt to, stress and challenging life situations with an integrative therapeutic approach which includes family systems, interpersonal, cognitive-behavioural and narrative approaches.  We also help co-parents with the Cooperative and Positive Parenting (CAPP) process. In addition we assist parents with developing their own Co-parenting Guide to document agreed upon steps for parenting down a smoother pathway, making communication, problem-solving and overall parenting improve after the turmoil and upset so much a part of separation and divorce.

When you would like to get effective help with your specific co-parenting challenge(s)… contact us today.



Please take a few minutes to watch these short videos about children and divorce and cooperative parenting, cut and paste the link ( ) into your browser to get a great resource to assist you with your journey toward a more cooperative parenting plan.


Photo above credit: ajavargas from