A variety of free services are available to help you at every stage of the divorce. Information on divorce and services are provided by non-government organisations, municipalities, associations, churches, and the private sector.

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Judicial mediation is an alternative to lengthy and tiring court proceedings. In particular, judicial mediation is intended for parents for whom other services have been inadequate.

Mediation can be used to solve disagreements between parents about child maintenance, dwelling, visitation rights and child support. Mediation can also be used to solve other issues involving your child and their daily life that can’t be solved in court. Judicial mediation aims to take children’s best interests into account and achieve a lasting contract between parents.

A judge trained in family matters will act as mediator. The mediator is assisted by a specialist in parenthood and children’s development, usually a psychologist or a social worker. The mediation team’s diverse background is intended to offer parents support with both legal and emotional conflicts. Having a specialist on the team aims to ensure that conflicts are solved in children’s best interests and the right matters are being discussed.

The mediation itself is informal and conversational. Primarily, progress is made through group discussion, but the mediator can talk to parents separately as needed. If you give your consent, the mediator and a professional assistant can also talk to your children.

Your lawyer may assist you at the mediation.

The Divorce help (Apua eroon) chat provides one-on-one help with a professional. Among other things, you can discuss your own or children’s situation or ask about services to help you with the divorce or where to find help. You can share your concerns about family issues or children’s wellbeing or get answers to your questions about the practicalities of getting divorced.

The Apua eroon chat is meant for all parties involved in the divorce, including close family and friends of the divorced couple.

You can find the Apua eroon chat in the right hand corner at the bottom of the page.

The Apua eroon chat doesn’t require registration.

The chat is open from Monday to Friday from 12pm to 6pm and on Saturdays from 2pm to 5pm. The chat is also open on Monday from 9am to 10am in collaboration with the Association of Single Parents.

The Miessakit Association provides a personal support program called EETU as part of their Erosta Elossa service. The program is currently being expanded nationwide.

EETU staff have received training and are all regular men who have been divorced themselves. You can openly talk to them about your situation in confidence. Hard feelings and thoughts might be affecting your life after the divorce and making you isolate yourself from your family, friends, and colleagues. You might be in need of outside help and support – talking helps.

Getting divorced or ending a relationship later in life affects adult children, grandchildren, and your social circle as well as you.

Sometimes one person is surprised by the divorce, other times the path leading up to the divorce has been long and complicated. Everyone has their own truth and narrative about the decision to divorce and the divorce itself. If communication has suffered over the years or been lost completely, it might be hard avoid arguments in the divorce. It can feel like nobody wins when you have to divide your property and go your separate ways.

It’s becoming increasingly common to divorce later in life, even past the age of 80. When you get divorced, you lose the idea of growing old together. Other life changes that come with age often take place at the same time. However, finding new perspectives on life is possible at any age. Help is available. In the beginning, many people need individual discussion help, and even therapy. After a little bit of time has passed, many people benefit from peer support groups.

The Finnish Pensioners’ Federation offers divorce mentoring and peer support for the elderly. The peer support group focuses on finding new perspectives, reinforcing identity, restructuring your daily life and helping you find a new path in life. You’ll make it through the divorce and find a brighter future in a group of peers led by a trained professional.

If you need advice on how to calculate child support, or arrange where your child is going to live, or have questions about child maintenance, guardianship, or visitation rights, call the Divorce information helpline at: 020 774 9800

Mon-Thu 10.00-16.00, Wed 10-19, telephone 020 774 9800 (price 0.085 euro/call + 0, 1669 euroa/minute (landline) (VAT 24%) or 0.085 euro/call + 0.1669 euro/minute (mobile) (VAT 24%). PERHEAIKAA.FI also provides advice on their web page in the Divorce ABC (Eron ABC) chat on Mondays from 10 am to 11 pm at the address https://www.perheaikaa.fi/live-chat/ (Summer break: 22.5.-31.7.).

The service is provided by the Association of Single Parent Families.

Divorcing with Children (Ero lapsiperheessä) lectures provide you with information and support. The event is mainly in Finnish.

Event program: After an introduction by an expert, you have time to discuss divorcing, parenting, and questions involving children. Ero lapsiperheessä events provide you with information on how divorce affects children and adults and how to best support your child. Feedback from attendees shows high satisfaction with the event. Attendees say they appreciated the peer support at the event, and they left feeling more confident and encouraged to find extra help.

Target audience: Events are aimed at divorced parents, parents who have made the decision to divorce, as well as parents considering divorce. Parents can attend together or alone. Close family or friends, such as grandparents are also welcome. You’re welcome to bring a friend for support if you’re uncomfortable attending alone.

When to attend: You can attend an Ero lapsiperheessä event at any point in the divorce process, whether you’re already divorced, considering divorce, or living apart. You can also attend an event a long time after your divorce.

How to attend: Live events are organised in different parts of Finland. You can also attend events online. Use the search engine to search for the key term “Ero Lapsiperheessä” to find schedules.

Did you attend an Ero lapsiperheessä event? Leave feedback here.

or scan this QR code

“The event was a good place to get advice on what to do after the divorce. There was lots of information and it’s worth going a few times” 

“Sharing my thoughts and listening to others speak made me realise I’m not the only one in my situation!”

Erosta Elossa is a nationwide service provided by The Miessakit Association that supports and guides men in dealing with divorce issues. The service helps men by giving support in the form of individual discussions, counseling and peer support in the various questions that arise when a relationship is under threat of ending, during the actual divorce process and in the time after divorce. One of the essential objectives is to secure the continuation of the relationship between father and child also after divorce.

Elossa erosta offers:

  • individual discussion support
  • peer support groups for men
  • EETU man-to-man individual peer support and mentoring
  • online help at www.tukinet.ne

The Federation of Mother and Child Shelters collaborates with some of it’s member associations to provide individual divorce support for people in need.

A divorce support person is a volunteer who has been through a divorce themselves. Your divorce support person will listen, advise you in practical matters, and support you through your changing life situation. 

The divorce support service provides equal, accepting and unbiased aid. Both parents are important to children, which is reflected in our work. Divorce support people are bound by professional confidentiality. You can meet a divorce support person 1-5 times.

Feedback form for parents

Feedback form for divorce support people

Peer support coffee groups are informal peer support-based meetings. You can come to the meetings, have a coffee, and share the ups and downs of daily life with others. Divorce, children, and parenting after the divorce are common discussion topics at the coffee group.  During the meeting, you’ll have the opportunity to share your own experiences with family life post-divorce as well as listen to others share theirs and hear about how people have dealt with different situations and found different solutions. The coffee group is also a good place to get tips on how to approach alternating weeks and make it work for you. The coffee group will give you energy and confidence after the divorce.

The group is led by volunteers, who are parents who have been divorced themselves. A divorce expert or guest speaker could also be at the coffee group.

Target audience: The coffee peer support group is intended for divorced parents.

Attendance: The coffee group is run by The Federation of Mother and Child Shelter’s member associations and collaboration partners. Coffee groups are held live as well as online meetings. Use the search engine to search for the key term Erovertaiskahvila to find schedules.

Did you attend a peer support coffeee group? Leave feedback here.

The feedback form can also be found by scanning the QR code.

“It’s good to talk to people in the same situation, the atmosphere is pleasant, and people are happy to listen”

“Going to the coffee group gave me hope in my own survival, it was a good environment and I had good discussions with others.”

File your divorce application at your local district court’s office. You can also file for divorce via mail, fax, or email. Spouses can file for divorce together or alone. After you file for divorce, you enter a six month long reconsideration period. After the reconsideration period ends, filing another divorce application at your local district court’s office finalises your divorce. If you don’t file the second and final divorce application within a year from the date your reconsideration period started, you must begin the process again if you still wish to get divorced. Spouses are encouraged to use family mediation services in conflict situations.

Peer support groups give children the chance to talk about their feelings and share their experiences with other children around the same age who are going through similar situations. Peer support is an important aspect of the group.

Peer support groups give your child a place and space to work through their feelings about the divorce without a conflict of loyalty. Peer support groups approach the divorce age-appropriately through play, games, stories, and artwork. The aim of the group is to help children process their feelings about the divorce and life changes. The group supports children through the process and gently encourages them to accept the divorce.

There are several different kinds of peer support groups available for children and teenagers with divorced parents.  Groups are run by a variety of organisations that work with children and families. Peer support groups are led by professionals.

Social services are responsible for assisting parents with making a contract about child maintenance, dwelling, visitation rights and child support. A child welfare supervisor from your child’s municipality will make sure your contract takes your child’s best interests into consideration.

You can get public legal aid in divorce matters, such as custody, visitation rights, and division of assets from your local legal aid office. Public legal aid is a state-funded service for private citizens. Whether you are eligible for free public legal aid depends on your income, assets and liability for child maintenance.
Legal aid is provided by a public legal aid attorney. If you’re required to appear in district court, you can also elect to be assisted by a private lawyer. Private lawyers can apply for public legal aid for their clients. You can read more about legal aid and find contact details for your local legal aid office at oikeus.fi.

Meeting groups for single parents are low commitment peer support groups for parents with sole custody. Attendance is free of charge.
The aim of the groups is to get to know other parents in your area that have the same family situation as you and share your experiences.
Separate activities for children are usually organised while the group takes place. The group is led by a trained volunteer with personal experience. Groups usually get together a couple of times a month for a few hours at a time, or as according to the group’s wishes. Meetings are usually held in locations owned by daycares, churches, or similar. Online meetings are also held at Tukinet.fi, Perheaikaa.fi, as well as Facebook. For more information on groups:

http://www.yvpl.fi as well as
local coordinators:
Uusimaa: Terhi Rapeli 040 186 3421
Länsi-Suomi: Teija Hallbäck-Vainikka 040 541 5294
Pohjois-Suomi:  050 342 2185
Itä-Suomi: Marjo Meriranta 0400 441 708

The service is organised by The Association of Single Parent Families (Yhden Vanhemman Perheiden Liitto ry)

It’s worth getting help for problems in your relationship. An unbiased specialist can provide you with new perspectives, help you communicate, and give you tools to solve your conflicts. Churches and Christian organisations offer relationship courses and events to help you develop your relationship skills and help you become more satisfied in your life. Married couples, couples that live together, as well as couples who are dating are welcome. Themes and formats of relationship courses vary by church. Churches and Christian organisations also offer a variety of relationship lectures and themed evenings that are easy to attend.

Family mediation is a service for parents who are considering ending their relationship or having difficulties co-parenting after the divorce. Family mediation offers unbiased support from outside the family to help you work through conflicts. Family mediation can help you organise divorce proceedings, matters involving children, child maintenance, and visitation rights, among other things. Discussions are confidential. www.perheneuvola.fi

Churches provide counselling and discussion help in family matters. Book a time at the family counselling centre in advance. Church family counselling centres are open to everyone and free of charge. You don’t have to belong to a church to use the service. Family counseeling centres offer divorce crisis counselling as well as discussion help for relationship problems. You can attend alone or with your partner.

The meeting spot (Tapaamispaikka) is an occupational service that makes it possible for children to have visits and spend time with the parent they don’t live with safely and securely. Visits are conducted with your child’s best interests and their perspective at heart. The service is dedicated to encouraging and reinforcing the bond between child and visiting parent, as well as providing support for the visiting parent and encouraging a coparenting relationship between parents.

Visits are scheduled as per decision by court order, or in accordance with a contract notarised by child welfare supervisor.

The Federation of Mother and Child Shelter’s 15 member associations offer visitation services in accordance with Finnish social welfare law 27 §. Visitation services are available in many parts of the country. Visitation rights are primarily concerned with children’s right to visit their parent in situations where children and parents don’t live together as a result of divorce or when a child has been placed into care. Visitation service is a demanding occupational service that supports children’s relationship with the parent they don’t live with as well as the co-parenting relationship between parents while keeping children’s best interests and safety at heart. A safe and secure visit for children and adults is the basis of our work!

The service adheres to national quality standards. Fulfillment of the guidelines is monitored and audited regularly. You can read more about our work and national quality standards as well as find contact details for visitation services here, You can also search for visitation services using the search engine.

The Turvassa project (2019-2021) is involved in developing new ways of supporting families in high conflict divorces and collaboration with multi professional teams. The project is active in Turku and Mikkeli toimii (with customers) as well as Helsinki.

Project aims:
– finding ways to support children and strengthen their participation
– develops operating models and practices for ascertaining the child’s wishes, fears, and opinions
– develops safe meeting practices for child-parent meetings
– creates a change-based parenting model to ensure safe parallel parenting
– create an extensive and collaborative network

You can find more information in English on the Turvassa project here.

At the Vanhemman neuvo ® – peer support groups, divorced parents and parents that have made the decision to divorce can get together to discuss co-parenting, and think about what the situation looks like from a child’s perspective.  The group aims to tackle several themes involving the divorce and parenthood after the divorce. The goal is always a stable co-parenting relationship and keeping children’s relationships with both parents intact.

Parenthood after the divorce is different for every family. Hearing how others have organised children’s issues after the divorce and sharing what works well can help everyone. The group helps you feel like there’s many people out there in the same situation as you and solutions can be found. In contrast to other peer support groups, the Vanhemman Neuvo group is focused on parenting and children’s perspectives.

Vanhemman neuvo ® groups are organised nationwide. Groups meet 8 times and are led by a professional trained by The Federation of Mother and Child Shelters.

Free Vanhemman neuvo groups are starting throughout 2021 in different areas of Finland. Use the search engine to check your local schedule and sign up!

You can give feedback on the Vanhemman neuvo peer support group here: Vanhemman neuvo -ryhmän palaute 2021. Your feedback is valuable and we use feedback to develop our service and outreach work as well as keep our service descriptions updated.

The parenting plan is a tool designed to support you with parenting after the divorce.

The parenting plan helps parents discuss their children’s day-to-day life constructively. Using the plan makes it easier for you to make practical arrangements after the divorce. It also helps with division of duties and makes it easy for you to lay out who’s responsible for what and know what’s expected of you.

Individual, couples, and family meetings aim to help divorced parents separate their parenting relationship with each other from the end of their relationship. During the process, you’ll work on understanding your child’s perspective better and receive support in building a co-parenting relationship.

The service is intended for parents who are thinking about divorce or who have already divorced, their underage children, as well as blended families. Children can be involved by parents’ wishes or as suggested by staff. You can use the service alone or together with your child’s other parent.

Scheduled meetings are free for parents. Scheduled meetings are run by member associations of The Federation of Mother and Child Shelters.