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23 November 2015 0 Comments
Posted in Opinion

Children tell unhappily married parents: don’t stay together for the kids

Author headshot image Posted by , Partner

A new survey has found that children do not want their unhappy parents to stay together for their sake.

The poll of young people aged 14-22 with experience of parental separation, which was carried out on behalf of family law organisation Resolution, has revealed fresh insights from children about the levels of involvement and amount of information they would like during their parents’ divorce.

It found that 82 per cent of those questioned would prefer their parents to part if they are unhappy. They said it was ultimately better that their parents had divorced, with one of those surveyed adding that children “will often realise, later on, that it was for the best”.

Key findings from the research shows that children and young people want greater involvement in decision-making during the divorce process:

  • 62 per cent of children and young people polled disagreed with the statement that their parents made sure they were part of the decision-making process about their separation or divorce
  • Half of young people (50 per cent) indicate that they did not have any say as to which parent they would live with or where they would live (49 per cent) following their parents’ separation or divorce
  • Around half (47 per cent) say that they didn’t understand what was happening during their parents’ separation or divorce
  • Two in ten (19 per cent) agree that they sometimes felt like the separation or divorce was their fault
  • When asked what they’d most like to have changed about their parents’ divorce, 30 per cent said they would have liked their parents to understand what it felt like to be in the middle of the process

The findings are released before the parliamentary launch of an online advice guide developed by Resolution for divorcing parents to help manage relationships with their children and with each other.

However, former High Court family judge Sir Paul Coleridge called Resolution’s conclusions shocking and irresponsible.

Sir Paul, head of the Marriage Foundation pressure group, said: “Every child who has been confronted by the spectre of family breakdown wants above all else for their family to remain intact or to get back together.”

But Jo Edwards, Resolution’s chair, said: “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.”

At Royds, our experienced family law department are able to advise on all aspects of the divorce process. We will work closely with clients to achieve the best possible outcome. For more information, please visit or contact Patrick Hart.

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