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Family Law Solicitor Caroline Harvey discusses Relationship Breakdown

We all know that when there are financial difficulties in a marriage or partnership, particularly when there are children or young dependants, that the cracks start showing in that relationship. This is largely because resentment breeds more resentment and perhaps there isn’t enough money even to pay essential bills or the mortgage let alone buy food and other items.

This often means that the family split and the Children become children of single parents. The cost of bringing up a child has risen to an average of £222,500 from birth to aged 21 – a jump of 58 per cent in the past ten years. Education is the main reason with the ‘add on’s’ such as uniforms, university fees and accommodation costs, spiralling upwards. A number of parents are now having ‘the shrinking family. The soaring costs of having say three children compared with one, have made it all the more unlikely.

Three years ago there were 829000 families with three children compared with 949000 a decade and a half ago when the figures were first collected. This means that if a family splits up, the child is less likely to have the support network of siblings to help during a difficult Divorce or unpleasant Separation.

There is an expectation that children will be fewer in number than their parents were – where families of six plus were not uncommon in Victorian times. Where divorce and separation are not happening in a family, that family is more likely to have traditional family values and do things more the ‘old fashioned ‘ way, eating round a table regularly, helping with homework, and sounding out problems encountered. Where this doesn’t happen is when ‘cracks’ as above are going on with the child or children feeling the strain of their parents Relationship Breakdown with the all too familiar problems of lack of funds to meet the family’s needs. When or if the family lose their home or have to move into other accommodation, such as sharing with grandparents this can seem like a very big change and not to their advantage.

To summarize – the cash flow worries experienced by a number of families in this difficult economy is responsible for smaller families, some having to live together after separation as they can’t afford to move out, and subsequent hardship owing to unemployment and other changes of circumstances forced upon them. It’s a difficult time for all concerned.

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