A fifth of unstable marriages in the Yorkshire region are held together due to concerns over children, new research suggests.
In a survey conducted by Graysons Solicitors, 22.3% of respondents said their children would be the main factor holding them back from instigating divorce proceedings, despite a breakdown in their marriage.
This comes after researchers established a link between poor handling of a marriage breakdown on the part of parents and a subsequent increased risk of health disorders in their children — including gastrointestinal and neurological issues.
Fear of losing financial security was also cited as a reason to reconsider ending the marriage, which echoes previous research showing the more time or money that has been invested in a relationship, the more likely a couple is to stay in it.
And for some, the fear of being alone was enough of a deterrent to stop them filing for divorce (7.5%) — a trend also reflected by findings from a psychological study.
But despite recent figures suggesting a downward trend in divorce, a large proportion of respondents said that none of the options offered as reasons to save their marriage — which also included family and peer pressure and concern over the loss of assets — would stop them from instigating divorce proceedings.
What our findings appear to suggest is that, although many of the common reasons for wanting to make a marriage work still stand, couples whose marriage is in crisis might feel divorce is the only option.
However, while wanting to protect your children and finances from the impact of divorce is understandable, neglecting to address issues within an unhappy marriage can often do more harm than good. Research has found that even the brains of children as young as six months can identify and be adversely affected by parental conflict.
We would advise couples to communicate with each other, right from the outset of the relationship.
Small misunderstandings can snowball into serious issues. Tackling them early can save a lot of emotional and financial hardship. Marriage guidance and counselling for couples is available should an independent party be needed to help address issues within the relationship.
If, after exploring all avenues, couples make the difficult decision to divorce, it is important that the lines of communication remain open so that issues such as financial matters and care of children can be addressed as swiftly and amicably as possible.
Loss of financial security – 11%
Family and peer pressure – 3.8%
Children – 22.3%
Fear of being alone – 7.5%
Concern over loss of assets – 4.9%
None of the above – 60.1%
Bradie is a partner and the head of the family law department at Graysons.
With significant experience in family law, Bradie deals with the whole spectrum of legal issues that affect families, including divorce, separation, finances, injunctions and children matters.
She is also able to advise on pre and post nuptial agreements, separation agreements and cohabitation agreements. Having worked throughout South Yorkshire during her career, her empathy and dedication to her work has led to a loyal following of clients.
She is a member of Resolution and, confident and experienced in standing up in court, carries out most of her own advocacy. Bradie is on the Family Law Panel, which works exclusively with Resolution members and is highly rated on the independent website, VouchedFor.