The marriage foundation has published new research which predicts that almost 50% of children can expect to go through a family breakdown by the age of 15. Specifically, the forecast states that 345,000 of the 729,674 children born last year will see their parents separating before they reach their mid teens.
A spokesperson for the Marriage Foundation has claimed that declining marriage rates are to blame for the rise in family breakdowns. Many people believe that divorce rates are continuing to rise, but this is not the case. In fact, since 2005, proportionally fewer marriages have been ending in divorce, with the figure currently standing at 42%. In the case of marriages that have lasted more than ten years, the figures have remained roughly level ever since the 1950s.
However, fewer couples are now getting married and the rates of marriage in England and Wales are currently lower than they have ever been before. This has led the marriage foundation to believe that the decline in marriages rather than divorce rates is to blame for the increasing levels of family breakdown. Their spokesperson went on to point out that "of the teenagers not living with both parents, just 32 per cent of cases involved divorce."
The marriage foundation was originally set up by Sir Paul Coleridge, a High Court judge. Its aim was to promote healthy relationships between couples, improve the public's understanding of marriage, and therefore to promote fewer breakdowns in families.
For many, the findings of this study are cause for concern, especially when taken in conjunction with the results of related studies. For example, a study by the Centre of Social Justice found that in England and Wales there are as many as a million children who do not have regular contact with their father. Family breakdowns have also frequently been linked to other social problems. These include substance abuse, relating to both alcohol and illegal drugs, and juvenile delinquency.
Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw has been outspoken on what he perceives as the cause of family breakdowns. With regard to the popular view that poverty is central to social breakdown, he has claimed: "These children lack more than money: they lack parents who take responsibility for seeing them raised well. It is this poverty of accountability which costs them."
Sir Michael went on to clarify: "These children... are not given clear rules or boundaries, have few secure or safe attachments at home, and little understanding of the difference between right and wrong behaviour." This, he maintains, causes these children to suffer and contributes to social breakdown.
When a relationship breaks down, it causes a lot of pain for every member of the family. At K J Smith Solicitors, we aim to minimise the pain and help work towards the most positive outcome for all parties. Our team of separation solicitors can work with you compassionately to help resolve things as easily and efficiently as possible. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, contact K J Smith Solicitors today on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading) or 020 7070 0330 (London) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.