Children Want Their Voices Heard During Divorce

A major new survey has revealed that most children and young people would prefer their parents to split up rather than stay together if they are unhappy.

More than 500 young people with experience of parental separation were polled by ComRes for family law organisation Resolution.

Eight out of ten said that despite their feelings at the time, it was better in the long run for their parents to divorce if staying together makes them miserable.

The research also suggests that children and young people want more involvement in making decisions during the divorce process.

Resolution spokesperson Amanda Adeola, who specialises in children matters at Macks Solicitors, said: “I know that parents in the Tees Valley area who are going through a divorce will want to put their children first.

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“Latest figures show there are around 1,698 divorces in the area each year, which means that there are many local children who might be facing the family issues raised by this research.

“Divorce is, of course, a very stressful thing to go through – but the best way forward is to manage separation in a way that minimises conflict, focuses on the needs of children and helps separating couples to avoid court.”

Other headlines from the poll include;

  • 62% of respondents disagreed with the statement that their parents made sure they were part of the decision-making process about their separation or divorce
  • Half didn’t have any say over which parent they would live with after the separation or divorce
  • 88% say it is important to make sure children do not feel like they have to choose between their parents
  • 47% didn’t understand what was happening during their parents’ separation or divorce

Asked what they’d most like to have changed about the split, just under a third of young people wished their parents weren’t horrible about each other to them, while a similar number would have liked their parents to understand what it felt like to be in the middle of a divorce.

However, half of the young people agreed that their parents put their needs first during their separation or divorce.

“It’s absolutely vital that parents listen to young people’s views during divorce or separation,” said Amanda.

“It can be more damaging for the parents to stay together and spend all their time fighting. That’s not fair on the children.

“These young people are saying they want to be listened to and want to be part of the decision-making process. They want to understand what’s happening and how we’re going to be able to spend time with both of our parents.

“It’s important that children are listened to and that their needs are put first. Many still aren’t, and that’s very sad to hear.”

The results back up Resolution’s Parenting Charter, setting out what children should be able to expect from their parents during a divorce. Resolution is calling on the government to share the Charter with all divorcing parents.

Resolution is an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and others who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters.

Visit www.resolution.org.uk/divorceandparenting for Resolution’s online advice guide for divorcing parents.


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