Minimising the impact of conflict during divorce or separation on children.
Good divorce week is an awareness raising campaign by ‘Resolution’ the national organisation for family law professionals in this country. Its aim is to foster understanding as to how approaching separation in a non- confrontational manner can limit the impact of family breakdown both on themselves and their children.
Conflict can have some serious long-term effects on children. Studies have shown that it’s not the separation or divorce proper that has an impact, but rather the conflict stemming from it that often has a detrimental impact on their well-being.
Resolution members are committed to reducing conflict, agreeing to a non-confrontational way of working that puts the best interests of children first. Our family law partner at Surrey Hills Solicitors, Rachael Anderson, is a member of Resolution and also a family mediator and is committed to assisting clients minimise the impact of conflict during the separation process and beyond.
The current law says, unless you have been separated for 2 years with consent, or 5 years without, you have to divorce on the grounds of adultery or behaviour. In 2016, the majority (60%) of divorces in England and Wales were granted on adultery and behaviour.
Divorce is always difficult, but having to show fault can increase the conflict between the couple and make it more difficult to sort out child and financial arrangements. . 71% of the population agrees that no fault divorce is urgently needed to protect the long-term interests of children.
Without wanting to trivialise it, we call it ‘the blame game,’ but one that can have very serious consequences for the couple and any children they might have. Urgent reform is needed to remove blame from the process to reduce the negative impact of conflict on children.
What young people (14-22 year olds) think (2015 ComRes survey)
Of those who have experienced family breakups, 82% would prefer their parents to part if they are unhappy.
More than 60% felt their parents had not ensured they were part of the decision-making process in their separation or divorce.
Half of young people indicated they did not have any say as to which parent they would live with or where they would live.
88% agreed it was important to make sure children do not feel like they have to choose between parents.
About half admitted not understanding what was happening during their parents’ separation or divorce, while 19% agreed that they sometimes felt like it was their fault.
Resolution’s research suggested that many parents handle their separations well: 50% of young people agreed that their parents put their needs first.
How divorce and separation affects young people (14-22 year olds) (2014 ComRes survey)
19% said they didn’t get the exam results they were hoping for.
The majority (65%) say that their GCSE exam results were affected while 44% say A-levels suffered.
Almost a quarter (24%) said that they struggled to complete homework, essays or assignments.
More than one in 10 (11%) said they found themselves “getting into more trouble at school, college or university,” with 12% confessing to skipping lessons.
14% of the young people surveyed said they started drinking alcohol, or drinking more alcohol than previously, while almost three in ten (28%) said that they started eating more or less than previously.
13% admitted to experimenting, or thinking about experimenting with drugs as a result of their parents’ break-up.
32% of respondents said one parent tried to turn them against the other.
More than 1 in 4 (27%) said their parents tried to involve them in their dispute.
Almost 1 in 5 (19%) saying that they completely lost contact with one or more grandparents.
At Surrey Hills Solicitors we adopt a non- confrontational approach to resolving the issues that flow from separation. Rachael Anderson is an accredited family mediator as well as family law solicitor. Please contact her if you wish to find out further information: Rachael.firstname.lastname@example.org or 01306 877592