How Divorce Affects Children’s Education

December 17, 2014  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

 family law Thames Valley

New research commissioned by Resolution has revealed that 19% of teens feel that parental separation has had a negative effect on their education and exam results. A survey of teens and young adults aged 14-22 looked at the way separation and divorce affects life at school, college and university. Around 100,000 children under the age of 16 experience parental relationship breakdown each year, and 48% of all break-ups in Britain involve couples with at least one child. The report, published on the 24th of November 2014, shows how separation and divorce have significant effects on children’s education, resulting in struggles with homework, truancy, poor exam results and experimentation with drugs and alcohol. 

Chair of Resolution Jo Edwards commented on the results of the survey: “It’s clear from our survey that children are suffering as a result of parental separation and that in some cases it’s exacerbated when parents place additional stresses on their children during their break up. But there is a better way to manage your separation. That’s why we would encourage all separating couples to explore their options for an amicable divorce.”

“Mediation and collaborative family law are both alternative methods of dispute resolution which are can be very helpful for parents going through separation. These out-of-court techniques focus on the family as a whole and allow for more cooperation and compromise than a case taken to court. When children are involved in separation, it’s essential that their needs are prioritised.”

During and after separation, many teens and young adults will be preparing for exams and one fifth of those surveyed said they did not achieve the exam results they had hoped for because of the stresses of parental separation. Moving house, moving schools, or going back and forth between two homes can have a drastic effect on a child’s ability to study effectively, and may mean they receive less support for homework, coursework and revision.

  • 44% said that their A-Level grades suffered
  • 65% said that their GCSE grades suffered
  • 24% struggled to complete homework
  • 15% moved school as a result of parental separation

According to the report, parental disputes also affected children’s behaviour, causing them to miss school, get into trouble, or use alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism. One respondent explained that she ended up missing lessons after being taken out of class to speak to teachers about her home situation. Others said that their parents’ separation was the reason behind drug or alcohol abuse, or the cause of eating disorders.

  • 1 in 10 reported getting into more trouble at school, college or university
  • 12% admitted to skipping lessons or taking days off school
  • 14% turned to alcohol
  • 13% admitted to using drugs
  • 28% said they were eating more or less than before

Pressure from parents can cause additional stress for many teens and young adults, especially when they are asked to take sides. 20% of respondents also suffered from a breakdown of existing support networks and a lack of communication from their parents about the development of the separation.

  • 32% said their parents tried to turn them against the other
  • 27% said their parents tried to involve them in the separation
  • 23% found out about a parent’s new partner via social media
  • 1 in 5 children completely lost touch with one or more grandparents following divorce

Jo Edwards explained: “These new findings show the wide-ranging impact of divorce and separation on young people. It underlines just how important it is that parents going through a split manage their separation in a way that minimises the stress and impact on the entire family, especially children, otherwise their exam results could suffer. Divorce and separation is always traumatic, but there is a better way to deal with it.”

As Resolution-members, the family lawyers at Frances Lindsay & Co are committed to helping couples find the right solution to relationship breakdown for the good of the whole family. We offer fixed-fee services for divorce, mediation, collaborative family law, arbitration and a range of other fixed-fee legal services across the Thames Valley, including Henley, Marlow and Windsor.  Speak to one of our friendly solicitors to discuss the options available to you, or download Resolution’s free guide: Separating Together

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