Research has shown that a bad divorce can have a deep and lasting impact on children, begging the question why parents are still not embracing alternative less adversarial options open to them?
The Impact of Divorce on Children
It doesn’t take a degree in child psychology to know that family breakdowns have a profound influence on the children involved. Divorce is increasingly prevalent in society yet studies show that the negative effect on children caught up in family feuds is no less intense than it was years ago when divorce was far rarer.
The damage is lasting too. The Economic and Social Research Council says the effects can stay with children long into their 30s and beyond. It says youngsters who experience parental divorce are at a “higher risk of social and psychological problems later in life”. Divorce can also have tangential impacts on children lives as research by family law association Resolution found that nearly one in 10 adults leave their jobs due to stress following a break-up.
The more acrimonious the divorce, the greater distress suffered by the whole family, which is why it is important for married couples to find pathways with the least amount of conflict.
Fortunately, alternative far less hostile routes are available; ones that are more collaborative and less harmful to children caught up in the process. Unfortunately, public awareness and understanding of these options remains very low.
Collaborative Law makes it possible for separating couples to work together with their specially trained lawyers, as a team to find a resolution to the inevitable issues arising from separation and divorce, including divorce, financial implications and issues regarding arrangements for the children’s care.
The innovative process enables the couple, rather than their lawyers, to be in control of their separation. They work with the lawyers to identify the issues, which are resolved via a series of non-confrontational meetings.
The process of face to face meetings is designed to minimise hurt, upset and the loss of self-esteem, often caused by acrimonious court proceedings. The aim is to focus on the future needs of the family and fairness, with a view to building and maintaining communication between the couple, an essential component for any successful parental relationship.
Mediation is another process that places the couple firmly in the driving seat, taking control of their separation. The process takes place in tandem with the traditional legal process and is carried out by specialist trained professionals, who help the couple identify unresolved issues and seek to work with them to create an agreement which can then simply be approved by the Court.
Mediators are not relationship counsellors, they are not appointed to delve into the cause of the marital breakdown. Their role is one of an independent neutral and they give broad legal information, meaning solicitors will still need to be appointed to advise each party, albeit typically on a far less costly basis.
Once terms are agreed, the mediator will produce a summary of the arrangements agreed, including financial details, divorce and matters concerning the children. Solicitors will then receive this information and will work with the couple to convert these terms into a legally binding agreement.
To avoid more children unnecessarily suffering, please help us spread the word about these alternative innovative options.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.