Study Addresses Effects of Divorce on Educational Achievements

Study Addresses Effects of Divorce on Educational Achievements

By: M. Scott Gordon

How does divorce impact a child’s educational achievements? In other words, are children from divorced homes more likely to struggle in school than children from homes where both parents are married and living together? According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, that question does not have a straightforward answer. In short, children who come from families that are less likely to get divorced, statistically end up seeing more negative effects on their educational achievements as a result of the divorce.

It is important for anyone in the Chicago area who is thinking about filing for divorce to get in touch with a Chicago divorce attorney to learn more about options that can help you move toward a less contentious process.

Older Studies Cite Impact of Divorce on Kids’ Educational Well-Being

The UCLA study certainly is not the first to link divorce with effects on a child’s educational well-being. To be sure, previous researchers have suggested divorce does indeed impact a child’s educational achievements—sometimes in the short term in the months following a separation and divorce and sometimes in the years that follow. However, what the UCLA study newly reports is that the tie between divorce and a child’s educational achievements has to do with the socioeconomic status of the family and the initial likelihood that the parents’ marriage would have resulted in divorce.

To put it another way, while some people might assume children from lower socioeconomic households may be more likely to struggle with the effects of divorce—especially since divorce likely means even fewer resources now divided between two separate households—the UCLA researchers actually found the opposite to be true. It is the children who are at a “more advantaged socioeconomic status” who struggle more educationally with the divorce.

Risk Factors for Divorce and the Effects on Children

Generally speaking, a couple’s likelihood of getting divorced increases if both parties either did not attend or failed to finish college and if they got married at a young age. Those risk factors also are more likely to put you in a lower socioeconomic class. In most cases, couples who finish college and have professional or graduate degrees are more likely to wait until they are older and more secure to get married, therefore, are less likely to end up getting divorced. It is when these types of couples have children and ultimately end up getting divorced that the kids struggle the most.

Why would more socioeconomically advantaged children struggle with educational achievement after a divorce? According to the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “divorce is just one of the many hardships disadvantaged families face, which makes the event less disruptive.” In other words, kids from families already financially struggling are more accustomed to life changes and difficulties and they may have learned coping mechanisms to prevent those life difficulties from affecting their educational achievements.

Contact a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

Do you have questions about getting divorced or how to manage divorce with minor children? An experienced Chicago divorce lawyer can discuss your situation with you and options for moving forward. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today.