According to a recent study apparently conducted in the UK, one third of children whose parents divorce become estranged from the parent that they do not live with primarily.
The study attributes this to very bitter, hostile divorces taking place under a statutory framework apparently emphasizing blame and competition.
The study reports that the goal of twenty percent of divorcing parents is to make their spouse as miserable as possible – without regard to the impact of their behavior on their children.
Fully half of the studied parents opted to litigate timesharing arrangements “despite knowing it made matters worse for their children”.
As a result of such attitudes and conduct, according to twenty-five percent of the parents participating in the study, their children were so disturbed by their parents’ divorces that the children became self-destructive or even suicidal.
A leading UK law firm thinks the current statutory scheme in the UK needs to change and proposes out-of-court “conflict clinics” for resolving parenting disputes, rather than litigation.
The study was conducted on behalf of that UK law firm.
The study was based on interviews of only two thousand divorced parents and two thousand children of divorce.
The intent behind the study was to “review” the impact of a twenty year old UK statute applicable to child-related issues in divorce.
The study’s conclusions are quite disturbing, but it is not entirely clear whether the study conformed to scientifically sound methodology, including using a statistically significant and random sampling of subjects and ensuring freedom from bias.
It is also unclear whether the study holds any relevance for US statutory schemes regarding parental responsibility and timesharing, and the application of those statutes by judges to families appearing before them.