This is a weeper, but should come as no surprise to marriage advocates whose driving concern is the welfare of children:
Nearly 10 percent of children from broken families say the process has left them suicidal, according to a new UK study. Other children from such families say they later sought solace in drink and drugs or turned to crime. The survey, by the London law firm Mishcon de Reya, also revealed that one in three children whose parents separated or divorced over the last 20 years said they had lost contact permanently with their father.
In addition, the study found that tens of thousands of children in the UK lose contact with their fathers every year because of a “failing” family court system and disastrous custody arrangements. Children involved in divorces complained of feeling “isolated” and “used”, and parents admitted having used children as “bargaining tools” against each other. Lawyers stated that the study showed that the court system itself was making family break-up more acrimonious with children used as "pawns”.
Kindly remember that these statistics are probably not accurate. Children look around them and see that divorce is part of the "normal" landscape, they are constantly told that there are "all kinds of families," and they have even been told that divorce would make their lives better (no more fights at home, etc.). Thus, the number of children who can actually pin their problems on divorce are fewer than the larger number who haven't connected the dots.
The conflagration of suffering was insultingly called the Children's Act twenty years ago, and now we see the results. It took the knife that was already injuring childhood (adultery, pornography, abandonment, teen pregnancies, and rocky marriages) and twisted it -- saying "no fault" divorces would limit the acrimony. Everyone could move forward as friends, the children would experience less trauma.
“The adversarial nature of the system invites people to come and use the courts system as a punch up and the children get used as pawns”, noted Sandra Davis, head of family law at Mishcon de Reya. “It polarises parents and it puts children in the middle of the antagonism”.
The report confirms findings from two major reports published last year, which also highlighted the damage that divorce does to children. The National Child Development Study concluded that divorce has “repercussions that reverberate through childhood and into adulthood”, and a report by the Good Childhood Inquiry warned that family breakdown was a major cause of harm to children’s mental health. A later survey of under-10s found that if they ruled the world, the first law they would enact would be a ban on divorce.
As I said, a weeper. Don't insult children with these insufferable word games. They know love -- and they know what hurts. Divorce can be deadly.