According to a recent report in the Daily Mail, children who suffer psychological problems, such as trauma suffered as a result of their parents divorce, can earn up to 30% less than those children that grow up in a stable home. With statistics confirming that one in three marriages in England and Wales ends in divorce and, according to the Daily Mail, with 113,000 couples getting divorced every year, the number of children with divorced parents is no small number.
Research conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Rand Corporation, looked at 17,634 children born in Britain in the first week of March 1958. They were tracked throughout their childhood, and their parents and doctors were quizzed about the emergence of any psychological problems.
The study estimated that a 23-year-old who got his or her first job in 2008 will earn £388,000 less during their lifetime than a person who had no psychological problems as a child.
As any divorce lawyer will confirm, the divorce process can be traumatic and emotionally draining for all the parties involved. Parents are however encouraged to resolve their divorce in an amicable manner with the view to this having as little impact upon any children of the family as possible. This can and sometimes is successfully achieved and I do not think that one can necessarily conclude that all children of divorced parents will be financially worse off than children in “stable families”. Surely arguing parents, who then separate to give their children two stable homes, are in fact providing their children with a more “stable” and less traumatic family life than they would otherwise have been provided?
One should also not forget that there are numerous events which occur during childhood which could be classified as “traumatic”. Do all these children then suffer psychological problems and in turn earn less in their future jobs?
Whatever the answer, these findings will only add to the worry that parents have about how their behaviour can affect their children’s future, but they also underline the importance of making every effort to ensure stability for children during any divorce process.