Support for single dads
Date last updated: 20 October 2017
Advice for single dads
Becoming a single dad is a life changing event. Here you’ll find a range of practical information to help you with some of the key issues that new single dads face in the first few years of becoming a single father, as well as stories shared by single dads and links to the Gingerbread community.
If your partner has died and you have become a single dad, you will need specialised advice. Our bereavement information and advice includes guidance on supporting your children, taking time off work and identifying financial support to help you work your way through this difficult time for your family.
It may also be helpful to read about the experiences of other dads who have lost their partner. For example Chris describes life as a single father after losing his partner, Jo, following a long illness and Eddie talks about his experiences of being a single parent since his wife died suddenly thirteen years ago while his son Connor was a baby.
Separating from a partner
If you have recently split up with your partner, or are in the process of separating, you’ll find lots of useful information in our separation advice. Or use our factsheet guide on the action to take when a relationship ends for a practical guide through the things to do straight away, and the next steps to take.
It’s very important to make sure that you are getting the right financial support for you and your family. If you’ve recently become a single parent, you may be entitled to different benefits and tax credits, an increased amount, or you may now be eligible for the first time. Find out more here.
If you and your child’s other parent are separated and your child lives with you most of the time, you will be entitled to claim child maintenance from your child’s other parent. More about child maintenance.
Taking time off work as a parent
If you need to spend more time at home, either now or in future, there are different types of leave you can apply for as a single dad. Some are paid and others are unpaid leave, or a mixture of both. Read more here.
Situations may arise that you need some additional support to cope with. It isn’t always easy to ask for help, but by doing so you’ll be in a much better position to think clearly, tackle problems directly and be there for your children when they really need you. Single dad David shares his experiences during difficult times in this video, including the challenges he’s faced, and the positive experiences of being a single parent.
You might want to share your experiences and get support from friends or other single parents who have been through similar changes. Joining a group, like a Gingerbread friendship group or chatting to other single parents in our online forums can be helpful and supportive. There are forum threads on both full-time and part-time work.
There will be times when your child needs you to help guide them through a difficult situation. Our factsheet support for children and young people has lots of information about where to get support and advice.
Being a single dad
David talks about his experience of fatherhood as a single dad, the challenge of juggling full-time work and care, and how he managed his emotional wellbeing following his divorce.Video: Being a single dad