28 January 2015
Divorced Parents Unhappy with Custody Arrangements
Divorced parents spend three months of their lives arguing over arrangements for their children new research has revealed, with nearly a third doing it via text.
Over an 18 year period separated couples spend an average two hours and ten minutes a week in dispute over issues to do with their children.
While nearly all couples try to stay amicable with one another for the sake of their children 85% said they can’t help but argue and three in ten say they feel like they argue constantly.
More than half of those polled admitted they regularly end up arguing in front of their children and one in twenty couples said that their relationship had broken down so much they only communicated through their children.
The study of more than 1,000 divorced parents found that three in ten thought that their current custody arrangements were unfair.
The research, which was commissioned by Family Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers, also revealed that more than a third of men were unhappy with the arrangements for their children that were put in place after their divorce while 26% of woman also admitted to being dissatisfied.
Slater and Gordon Family Solicitor and child law specialist Cara Nuttall said, “It’s sad that so many couples are locked in negative and stressful communication over their children.
Ultimately, where children are involved parents have to communicate on some level and in my experience communicating via text is a recipe for disaster.
“Most people have taken the decision to get divorced as they think it will be provide a better outcome for their children. A separation should remove the tension between an unhappy couple – not add to it. A good Family Solicitor will be working with parents from day one to try and come to an agreement that is fair to both parties and helps create an amicable separation.
“The worst case situation is when the relationship between ex partners breaks down to such a degree that the divorce courts are being asked to make decisions. At Slater and Gordon Lawyers we always work with clients to make sure that they are being realistic about their desired outcome and help them to put the needs of their children before anything else.
“If they cannot find a level of agreement or acceptance it means they are going to have a constant source of stress until the children grow up. Sadly, this is often a problem which a Court Order alone cannot solve.”
Money, timekeeping and children spending time with a parent’s new partner topped the list of flashpoints that cause arguments between ex’s while one in five said they argued about presents they bought for the children.
A quarter blamed their different approaches to discipline while dropping off points and not keeping promises were also issues likely to cause tension.
The study showed that couples were most likely to contact each other via text when making arrangements for their children (30%), with phone calls the second most common method of communication and face to face the third.
Computer games, what the kids watch on TV and where to go on holidays were other topics that lead to conflict between separated couples.
More than a quarter said their children always knew when their parents were arguing while 16% admitted talking to their children about the disagreement.
Cara Nuttall said, “Our advice is to try accept that there will be things you don’t like and cannot change. Try only to raise the issues that really impact on the children rather than things you just don’t like.
“There will always be a difference in parenting styles but a good and sufficiently detailed parenting plan can work wonders. It can set out not only what is agreed, but how decisions will be made on those issues which are not capable of agreement when they arise.
“It’s the role of your Family Solicitor to help advise you on what’s reasonable and unreasonable and to help create as amicable a separation as possible.”
Cara Nuttall is a Senior Family Law & Divorce Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
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