Some of the devastating effects of divorce on children have been revealed in a survey commissioned by family lawyers.
According to the findings, almost two thirds of 14 to 16 year-olds whose parents divorced said that their education was negatively affected.
One in seven said that the stress involved with their parents’ split caused them to turn to drugs or alcohol. It also found that a fifth of children never saw one or more of their grandparents again.
The study was commissioned by Resolution, an association of family lawyers in England and Wales.
Responding to the survey Sir Paul Coleridge, founder of The Marriage Foundation, said: “Children almost never perform at their highest potential when their emotional life is chaotic, and family breakdown is the arch contributor to that.
“How many more studies and statistics do we need before we all, including government, wake-up and take this issue seriously? It is so unfair on the children and their life chances.”
Jo Edwards, the chairman of Resolution, said that the findings demonstrate that the effects of divorce are far-reaching.
She commented: “Almost half of all break-ups occur when there is at least one child in the relationship, and with 230,000 people in England and Wales going through a divorce each year, and many separating, this issue affects hundreds of thousands of families in Britain.”
Siôn Humphreys, of the National Association of Head Teachers, spoke of the suffering reported by schools: “Teachers see day in, day out, the impact separation can have.”
Earlier this year a US study found that the negative impact of divorce on children is the same whether parents remain amicable or not.
Researchers asked 270 parents who were divorced or separated between 1998 and 2004 about how their break-up had affected the youngest child in their family.
The study found that children of divorced parents were more likely than others to have behavioural problems, mental health difficulties, and were at a greater risk of performing poorly at school.