Earlier today, I appeared on Sky News to discuss the impact of divorce. I was interviewed by legendary presenter Dermot Murnaghan and we had a lively conversation.
The appearance was prompted by a new study by family law organisation Resolution. It found that 65 per cent of young people aged 14 to 22 believe their GCSE exam results were negatively affected by their parents getting divorce. Additionally, 28 per cent claimed to have changed their eating habits following a parental split and 13 per cent admitted to experimenting with drugs, or at least thinking about it.
The effects of divorce can be devastating for children, even when it is amicable, but as a divorce lawyer the first priority is to consider the effect on the parents. The legal side of a divorce has to remain detached from the emotional side, even though that is often very difficult.
Divorce is a deeply emotional, highly traumatic experience for all involved. No parent would ever go into it with the intention of causing harm or distress to their children. Few would even admit that harm was being done.
Ideally, both parents should avoid going through with a divorce until they have both dealt with the emotional repercussions of the end of their marriage and are thinking clearly. That way, they can proceed quickly and relatively painlessly. While that may be very difficult, a good lawyer will get them as close to that frame of mind as possible.
Sadly, the abolition of legal aid has meant that lots of people going through this very difficult time in their lives are doing so alone. This is not at all conducive to a clear-headed, rational approach to divorce.
For these reasons, I am a big believer in therapy and counselling. It is vital to deal with the emotional fallout of a divorce before dealing with the legal aspects. It is also why I am such a vocal supporter of arbitration, which works. Couples can get binding agreements without the arduous, costly process of a lengthy courtroom battle.
To read the Resolution report, click here.