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Entries in Resolution (1)

Wednesday
Nov252015

Children want more involvement in divorce decisions

A study conducted in London on behalf of the English family law organisation Resolution and supported by Consensus Collaboration Scotland revealed clear views of children relating to their involvement in divorce related decisions.

Half of young people indicated that they did not have any say as to which parent they would live with or where they would live following their parents’ separation or divorce.

88% say it is important to make sure children do not feel like they have to choose between their parents.

62% 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.

The publicity for this study focussed on the fact that 82% of young people said that it was better that their parents divorced than stayed together unhappily, but an equally important finding was that 31% of young people said they would have liked their parents not to be horrible about each other to them, and 30% said they would have liked their parents to understand what it felt like to be in the middle of the process. A worrying 19% said that they sometimes felt that the divorce was their fault.

Jo Edwards the chair of Resolution 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.

The study involved interviews of 514 young people aged 14 – 22 with experience of parental divorce or separation from a long term cohabiting relationship over a year ago, plus five longer qualitative interviews.

Resolution has launched a parenting charter setting out what children should expect during divorce:

  • be at the centre of any decisions made about their lives
  • feel and be loved and cared for by both parents
  • know and have contact with both sides of their families, including any siblings who may not live with them, as long as they are safe
  • a childhood, including freedom from the pressures of adult concerns such as financial worries