Monday 26th November marks the start of Good Divorce Week. This week Resolution will be calling on the Government to reform divorce law and will raise awareness of how parents can minimise the impact of conflict on their children.
While no one enters a marriage with the foresight of divorce, it is important that the impact of a divorce is minimised as much as possible, for all involved. Conflict arising from a divorce can have some serious long-term effects on children and studies have shown that it is not the divorce itself that has an impact, but rather the conflict stemming from it that is often detrimental to children’s well-bring.
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. 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. With 60% of divorces in England and Wales being granted on adultery and behaviour in 2016, but with only 29% of respondents agreeing that the grounds used very closely matched the reason for divorce, it is easy to see why conflict has such a large impact on couples and any children they might have.
A recent survey found that the effects of conflict arising from divorce are impacting children socially, emotionally and in education. The majority of 14-22 year olds surveyed said that their GCSE results were affected and almost a sixth admitted to experimenting, or thinking about experimenting with drugs and alcohol, as a result of the impact of divorce.
Resolution are calling on the Government to urgently reform the law surrounding divorce, and remove blame from the process to reduce the negative impact of conflict on children. 82% of young people who have experienced family breakups would prefer their parents to part if they were not happy, but with many young people not understanding what is happening during their parents’ separation, or even feeling like it was their fault; removing the need for blame in divorce would help ex-partners to reach agreements and reduce conflict to make the process of divorce a little less difficult.
Blog by Hayley Miller, Family Paralegal