K J Smith Solicitors

50% of infants will see their parents separate by the time they are 15

Published: 25 October 2013

New research published by the Marriage Foundation predicts that almost half of today's children will experience a family breakdown by the time they reach their mid-teens. From 729,674 children born last year in England and Wales, it is estimated that 354,000 will see their parents separate by the time they reach 15.

The Marriage Foundation, founded by High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge, was set up to encourage fewer family breakdowns and to promote healthy long term relationships between couples by improving the public's understanding of marriage and family relationships.

Following the results of this study, the Marriage Foundation have called on ministers to do more to help married couples and to protect families with children as the number of marriages in England and Wales has reached an all-time low.

A spokesperson for the Marriage Foundation claims that whilst public perception is that divorce rates are continuing to rise, it is actually the declining number of marriages which is likely to be the cause of the increasing number of family breakdowns. "The percentage of marriages ending in divorce has actually fallen since 2005 to 42 per cent. For all marriages lasting over ten years, the divorce rate has barely changed since the 1960s. It is the declining rates of marriage which provide the only conceivable explanation of the doubling of family breakdown since the 1980s."

"Of the teenagers not living with both parents, just 32 per cent of cases involved divorce."

Other reports including the Centre of Social Justice have highlighted that as many as one million children in England and Wales are growing up without a father. They also linked the high number of family breakdowns with social problems like juvenile delinquency, alcohol and drug abuse. Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector of Schools also linked social problems to family breakdowns, claiming that bad parenting was caused by 'poverty of accountability'.

"Some people will tell you that social breakdown is the result of material poverty – it’s more than this," Sir Michael said. "These children lack more than money: They lack parents who take responsibility for seeing them raised well. It is this poverty of accountability which costs them."

"These children suffer because they are not given clear rules or boundaries, have few secure or safe attachments at home, and little understanding of the difference between right and wrong behaviour."

Relationship breakdowns can be extremely painful on all family members and whilst we can't take away this pain, our team of family law experts can help to ease it. At K J Smith Solicitors, we treat each case with sensitivity and compassion, helping you to reach a positive outcome quickly and efficiently. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, contact K J Smith Solicitors today on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading) or 020 7070 0330 (London) or email info@kjsmith.co.uk.


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