K J Smith Solicitors

New survey reveals children of divorce would rather their parents separate then stay together for their sake

Published: 24 November 2015

A new survey conducted by national family law organisation Resolution has revealed that 82% of young people who have been affected by divorce would rather see their parents separate then stay together for the sake of their children.

The survey questioned 514 people aged between 14 and 22 who have experienced being in the middle of their parents' divorce or separation, with the majority agreeing that in the long run, it was better that their parents breakup sooner rather than staying together for their sake until the relationship had broken down completely.

There was a feeling that young people want more involvement in their parents decision to separate, with over 60% of people surveyed feeling that their parents had not included them in the decision-making process and 50% saying that they weren't consulted as to who they would prefer to live with and where they would prefer to live following the divorce.

When parents decide to separate or divorce, it can be a confusing and emotional time for all children involved, but it's important to not put extra pressure on them by making them choose between their parents.

Almost 90% of people surveyed agreed that parents shouldn't make their children feel like they have to choose between parents or take sides. Roughly 50% said that they felt confused by their parents divorce and that they didn't understand what was happening and 19% said that they felt guilty as if the breakup was their fault. 

The research suggests that not all family breakups were badly handled, with 50% of saying that they felt their parents had put their needs first. The people surveyed were asked if there was anything they would have liked to have seen being done differently in regards to their own experiences; 31% said they would have changed the way their parents openly criticised each other in front of them and 30% said that they wished their parents could understand what it feels like to be in their situation.

On the results of the survey, Chair of Resolution, Jo Edwards, said "Despite the common myth that it’s better to stay together for the sake of the kids, most children would rather their parents' divorce than remain in an unhappy relationship."

"Being exposed to conflict and uncertainty about the future are what’s most damaging for children, not the fact of divorce itself. This means it is essential that parents act responsibly, to shelter their children from adult disagreements and take appropriate action to communicate with their children throughout this process, and make them feel involved in key decisions, such as where they will live after the divorce."

"We should be supporting parents to choose an out of court divorce method, such as mediation or collaborative practice. This will help parents to maintain control over the divorce and ensure their children’s needs are, and remain, the central focus."

The results of the study coincide with the release of an online advice guide, created by Resolution to help parents with managing their relationships with their children during the divorce process and Resolutions 'Family Dispute Resolution Week', which takes place between 23rd - 27th November and promotes alternative ways of dealing with family conflict, such as family mediation and collaborative law.

If you are thinking about divorce or separation then K J Smith Solicitors are here to help. Our team of family law specialists can advise you on the best course of action to take and ensure that we deliver a practical solution with the most positive outcome possible. For more information or to arrange a free 45 minute consultation, please contact K J Smith Solicitors on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 020 7070 0330 (London), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke) or 01483 370100 (Guildford) or email info@kjsmith.co.uk.

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