Belfast Telegraph

Financial advice after break-up

Families who face the trauma of a break-up are to get advice on how to cope with the financial implications.

Social Development Minister Alex Attwood has launched an advertising campaign to help separated couples organise maintenance arrangements for their children.

Organisers said the Child Maintenance Choices scheme will help parents find their way through the complex issues, providing free confidential information and support.

The Parents Advice Centre welcomed the plans, which include a free telephone number and a text number, plus support services.

Mr Attwood said: "Separation can be a very painful process for families. Emotions are raw and it is difficult to know where to turn for help when it comes to the future maintenance of children in the relationship. This Child Maintenance Choices campaign can help take the sting out of the whole process of working out what to do.

"Not only will 'Choices' staff talk to both parents about their options for child maintenance, they can also signpost parents to other organisations who can offer help with the other practical issues that can arise during separation."

Around 2,200 couples in Northern Ireland divorce every year. In 2008/2009, there were 2,176 divorces with 3,872 children involved.

Mr Attwood said: "The service is available to all parents, not just those recently separated and we are keen to talk to grandparents, friends or advisors, all in complete confidence."

The minister said the architects of the campaign sought to understand the problems faced when a relationship breaks down.

Child Maintenance Choices is also for the relatives, friends and advisors of parents going through separation.

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