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Parental Conflict Damaging To Children, Says High Court Judge

Relationship Conflict Can Have Long-Lasting Impact On Children


High Court judge Mr Justice Hayden has said that long-term conflict within a parental relationship is responsible for the long-term harm experienced by children at the centre of family breakdowns.

He told couples that separation or divorce is not the main cause of problems for children, it is the conflict related to the breakdown of a relationship.

Speaking while ruling on a legal issue relating to a parental dispute over a child, he said the message is given in family courts around the UK “time and time again”.

He added: “It is not divorce or separation that harms children in the long term, it is conflict."

Steps have recently been taken to improve the family justice system, particularly in cases where children are involved. The judiciary, the Children and Family Courts Advisory and Support Service and young people have been working together to make changes to the current system.

Expert Opinion
We welcome the comments from Mr Justice Hayden, as in our work we have seen the damage parental conflict can have on young people involved in divorce proceedings. Often conflict between parties can lead to the alienation of one parent from a child’s life, which can have a significant long-term impact on them and lead to conflicting parenting in some cases.

“It is important those going through divorce and separations where conflict is involved consult legal advice to ensure that court orders are obtained that are fair to both parties and the potential for a hostile environment for children is avoided.”
Zoe Round, Partner

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