Opinion: navigating tough times and family separations

Most family break-ups happen when the children are primary school age or younger. Financial stress, lack of local supports, and having children are among the most significant contributing factors.

It is incredibly hard work for young families to stay upright. Unfortunately, these are not the normal times we would all like.

New Zealand’s mortgage rates are the highest since before the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008. Over that time the amount that has to be borrowed to get into a home due to house price increases has shifted up rapidly, too.

Unemployment is starting to climb.

It is still at low rates, historically, but that’s no help to a family suddenly without work or with a lot less work, facing climbing bills, including winter power costs.

There are a bunch of services to help you get through: take a look at the online MSD Family Services Directory, it covers the whole of Otago and you can search for what you want.

CAB can help in the search as well, they are here https://www.cab.org.nz/.

If it is too late for that, the friction with your new ex is hitting hard, and wondering how to best take care of the children, consider doing a Dunedin and wider Otago-based Parenting Through Separation course. It’s only four hours (or two lots of two hours), can be done in a small group, or online; and can help.

The course covers children’s experiences of separation, your experience of separation and how this can affect your 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, and other resources and services available, including Family Dispute Resolution.

Feedback from a recent course included:

"The group that they were in was great; their situations were aligned which made it good to discuss issues and reassured them that they were on the right path.

"The information was awesome, as was the facilitator, and they would totally recommend the course to others."

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