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Exam results suffer due to parental break up

family law solicitor

Resolution survey published to coincide with Family Dispute Resolution Week

Young people feel their exam results are suffering as a direct result of parental break-up, according to a new survey of teens and young adults. The survey of 14-22 year olds also finds that parental separation is leading young people to turn to alcohol and skipping lessons, while some admit to experimenting, or thinking about experimenting, with drugs.

Jo Edwards, Chair of Resolution, said:

“These new findings show the wide-ranging impact of divorce and separation on young people. It underlines just how important it is that parents going through a split manage their separation in a way that minimises the stress and impact on the entire family, especially children, otherwise their exam results could suffer. Divorce and separation is always traumatic, but there is a better way to deal with it.”

Exam results suffering:
The survey of 14-22 year olds asked how a parental break-up had directly affected them. The survey found that one in five (19%) say they didn’t get the exam results they were hoping for. The majority (65%) say that their GCSE exam results were affected while 44% say A-levels (44%) suffered. What’s more, 15% said they had to move schools, which may have had a knock-on effect on exam results.

The poorer-than-expected exam results might partly be explained by changes in behaviour, as a direct result of parental separation, that the survey uncovered: Almost a quarter (24%) said that they struggled to complete homework, essays or assignments. And more than one in 10 (11%) said they found themselves “getting into more trouble at school, college or university,” with 12% confessing to skipping lessons.

Turning to alcohol and changing eating habits:
The survey finds that parental break-up can impact on young people’s health. 14% of the young people surveyed said they started drinking alcohol, or drinking more alcohol than previously, while almost three in ten (28%) said that they started eating more or less than previously.  Arguably most concerning of all, 13% admitted to experimenting, or thinking about experimenting with drugs as a result of their parents’ break-up.

Pressure from parents:
The survey also finds that many teens and young adults felt that their parents placed additional stresses on them during the process of break up. 32% of respondents said one parent tried to turn them against the other. And more than 1 in 4 (27%) said their parents tried to involve them in their dispute.

Impact of social media – pictures of new partners can be upsetting:
The survey also finds that the stress of their parents’ break-up for young people can be made worse by the impact of social media. Almost a quarter (23%) said that they found out on social media that one of their parents had a new partner. One in five (20%) said that their parents have upset or embarrassed them on social media, by posting something about their separation or divorce.

Other findings include almost 1 in 5 (19%) saying that they completely lost contact with one or more grandparents – a crucial issue in the context of the Government’s recently-launched “Family Test,” designed to ensure that policies support children’s relationships with their grandparents after divorce.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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