By Louise Halford

 

When it comes to children court proceedings abbreviations are everywhere. You may have heard a CAFCASS officer, judge or solicitor mention a referral to SPIP. This stands for the Separated Parent Information Programme.

 

What is the Separated Parent Information Programme?

The Separated Parent Information Programme is a course aimed at helping parents who are going through a separation put their children’s needs first.   The course also helps parents understand the impact of parental conflict on children and how to try to manage or reduce conflict during a separation.

 

Do I attend a Separated Parent Information Programme with my ex-partner? 

You will not go to the same Separated Parent Information Programme as your former partner or spouse. If you are both attending the course you will go to separate sessions.

 

Do I have to attend a Separated Parent Information Programme?

If you have applied to the family court for a child arrangements order

then the court can direct you to attend a Separated Parent Information Programme. The direction is normally made at the request of the CAFCASS officer.

 

Do I have to pay to attend a Separated Parent Information Programme?

Normally a parent does not have to pay to go to a Separated Parent Information Programme if their attendance was directed by the court.

 

How long does the Separated Parent Information Programme take to complete?

The Separated Parent Information Programme is normally completed in one or two sessions. If completed in one session it will last about 4 hours. If completed in 2 sessions each session will last about 2 hours.

 

What happens if you do not attend a Separated Parent Information Programme?

If you have been directed to attend a Separated Parent Information Programme by the court then your non-attendance will be reported to the court. Further attendance could be directed or the court could form a view on your application based on your non-attendance.

Accordingly, top Manchester children solicitors always recommend attendance on the Separated Parent Information Programme if you have been directed to attend.

 

What does the Separated Parent Information Programme cover?

The Separated Parent Information Programme looks at:

  • How parents can work together even though they are separated;
  • The impact of parental communication on children ; and
  • The emotional impact of a separation on parents and children.

 

What is the Separated Parent Information Programme feedback? 

Many parents are reluctant to attend the Separated Parent Information Programme as they do not want to spend the time away from work or the children or do not think that the course will be of relevance to them.

In my experience as a Manchester children solicitor many parents tell me that despite their misgivings about attending the course it was a worthwhile experience and helped them gain a better understanding of the long-term consequences of children growing up with conflict between parents.

Through attending a Separated Parent Information Programme some parents find it easier to reach an out of court agreement over the parenting arrangements for their children.  It is always better to reach a compromise over childcare arrangements rather than have a court impose a decision upon you.

 

For information and advice about any aspect of children law court proceedings please call me on +44 (0) 1477 464020 or email me at [email protected]