Children and Divorce

Gap-fill exercise

Complete the exercise and print it then discuss the Discussion points in your groups

   before      behaviour      children      cohabitation      courts      Credit      deprivation      divorce      emotional      encourage      fathers      financial      first      five      formula      half      lose      low      marry      problems      school      stability      standards      State      underachieve      viable      violent   
Because of the considerable rise in divorce, separation and it is estimated that today only around of all children spend their childhood with their married natural parents. There is considerable debate as to the effects of and family diversity on children.

It is well established that the children of parents enduring serious marital problems are prone to and behavioural problems themselves. It is also clear that such problems can emerge some time the actual separation of parents. The long term consequences of separation and divorce on children are also clear. Despite the best efforts of some parents between 35-45% of fathers touch with their children within years of the divorce taking place. Children of divorced parents are more likely to leave at sixteen, in education, leave home early, early themselves, and are more likely to experience marital and divorce themselves.
What if?

Divorce or separation frequently also leads to a sudden drop in living for children. This is most likely when the lone parent is the mother (true in around 90% of all cases). Lone mothers tend to find employment in unskilled paid employment or rely on State benefits (Family ). The costs of child care means that for some lone mothers employment is not a financial option. Seventy percent of lone mothers rely on some form of financial assistance from the . Family Credit does not allow for a high standard of living so the children of such families suffer real material .

Divorce however may in some cases be a positive development for children if it marks the end of a or abusive relationship.

Recent laws have prioritised the needs of and attempted (often unsuccessfully) to maintain children's relationships with non resident and to force fathers to meet their obligations to their children

The Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 established that "The welfare of the child" should be the consideration when make financial and property orders on divorce
The Children Act 1989 was designed to fathers' relationships with their children
The Child Support Act 1991 obliged fathers to provide financially for their children according to a precise .

The enforcement of these social policies has been difficult, for instance there has been considerable opposition to the work of the Child Support Agency (CSA), and laws by themselves seem to have little effect on the actual of parents.

Such laws however can be seen to have been influenced by the "Ideology of the Family" which sees the family, marriage and monogamy as the cornerstone of society and the guarantor of social .

Discussion Points
1. Is it inevitable that divorce damages children?
2. What could be done to minimise the effects of divorce on children?
3. Should single mothers be offered subsidised child care to get them back into work - what would be the advantages and disadvantages of this?
4. Family Ideology suggests that the family based on monogamous marriage is the "cornerstone of society". If this is the case why do so few people experience it?