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16 December 2013

Survey claims divorcing couples regret the impact on children but don’t tend to seek help

Divorced couples significantly regret the impact that their split had on their children but tend not to seek help with their relationship, according to a survey conducted by law firm Seddons in conjunction with The Marriage Foundation, and reported in Family Law Week.

One-third of divorced or separated couples state that their biggest regret about splitting up was the impact it had on their children. However, the survey results point toward a discrepancy between a couple's perceived impact of their split on the children and the wide body of scientific and clinical evidence which chronicles such impact. Nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) of respondents reported no perceived negative impact on their children whatsoever. Furthermore, most indicated that both their relationship with their child (74 per cent) and their children's personal relationships (70 per cent) had not been affected.

This is despite significant proportions of those with children reporting that it made their child's emotional state (32 per cent), school performance (22 per cent) and general behaviour deteriorate (17 per cent). Only a very small number (8 per cent) of respondents with children report that they were more emotional and affectionate as a result.

Other biggest regrets cited were the financial consequences (24 per cent) and the way the divorce was conducted (21 per cent). Overall, a majority of respondents (61 per cent) did not regret marrying or cohabitating, despite it ending in a divorce or separation.

The survey also identified that the vast majority of couples (79 per cent) failed to get any counselling when the relationship was in difficulty, with large proportions having decided that it was "too late" (38 per cent) or that they "never thought about it" (26 per cent).

The findings also suggest that even fewer couples seek preventive help, with nearly 84 per cent not attending a marriage preparation or relationship education course during the early stages of their relationship. Among the reasons cited include the fact that they "never thought about it" (44 per cent) and that they "didn't know there were such courses" (37 per cent).

However, if given the chance to change the way in which they separated, some 24 per cent indicated that they would increase communication with their partner.

Read more on this story here.