That’s the conclusion from new research that found that around eight out of ten children and young people with experience of parental separation or divorce would prefer their parents to split up if they are unhappy, rather than stay together.
The poll of young people aged 14-22 with experience of parental separation, which was carried out by ComRes on behalf of family law organisation Resolution and supported by Consensus Collaboration Scotland (CCS), has revealed fresh insights from children about the levels of involvement and amount of information they would like during their parents’ divorce.
Key findings from the research show that children and young people want greater involvement in decision-making during the divorce process:
Cath Karlin is a founding member of the Consensus Collaboration Scotland network, and a partner at BTO Solicitors. Speaking about the new findings, she said:
“This research confirms what family lawyers have known for a long time- it is far better for both the parents and children to remove themselves from relationships that are unhappy. In extreme cases, staying in a toxic relationship can go on to affect children in later life. It can also normalise for them unacceptable behaviours which can go on to affect how they go on to conduct themselves in their own adult relationships.
“This study also confirms that it is not the divorce or separation itself that causes children trauma- it is the way that it is conducted that can affect them adversely.
Bringing children into the dispute, providing them with too much information, asking them to take sides and litigating over them is what makes separation and divorce traumatic for children.
“It can be easy for parents who are experiencing their own pain on the break -up of a relationship to sometimes forget the needs of their children. Parents can also make the mistake of viewing their children as a “package” thus failing to recognise that children at different ages and stages experience the divorce in different ways.
“Members of Consensus Collaboration Scotland are trained to work with parents to help them transition from being together to separate in a respectful and dignified manner. We help them find ways to work together to shelter their children as much as possible from the separation. In turn, they are then able to co parent more effectively and their children remain secure and happy.”