A recent study suggests that divorce may provide a better outcome for school-age daughters than if the parents were to remain in a turbulent marriage. While most research into the effects of divorce on children compares the outcomes of children whose parents have experienced divorce to those in traditional, two- parent families, this study’s author utilized data containing observations of children whose parents filed for divorce but did not subsequently divorce as compared to those whose parents did actually divorce. While Mark Hoekstra, an economics professor at the University of Pittsburgh, agrees that boys and girls from two-parent intact families perform better academically than boys and girls whose parents divorced, he discovered that girls whose parents divorced tend to perform better in school than girls from similarly troubled families whose parents initiated divorce proceedings but remained married.
Hoekstra studied detailed student records on behavior and standardized test scores in Alachua County, Florida, as well as divorce records, from 1993 to 2003. By matching divorce records to student records, he was able to identify 690 students whose parents divorced and 111 students whose parents filed for divorce but later withdrew their petition. According to Hoekstra, the first- and 10th-grade girls whose parents divorced scored an average of slightly more than eight points higher on standardized reading and mathematics tests than those whose parents filed for divorce but later requested the case be dismissed. The differences persisted four years after the divorce.
Interestingly, no academic differences were found for boys. Hoekstra suggests that one potential reason girls in families with rocky marriages are more likely to experience academic problems is that they may be more adversely affected by conflict than boys. The opportunity for girls to have a closer relationship with their mothers, who are often the primary custodian when parents divorce, may also explain their stronger academic performance, he adds.
ACCORDING to a recent report by MoneyExpert.com, a British online price comparison service, divorcing couples in the UK could fight over assets worth more than £32 billion this year. On average, each of the estimated 140,000 British couples who will divorce during 2007 has assets totaling about £230,000. Property represents the largest piece of the pie, at more than £82,000 pounds or 36 percent of a typical couple’s wealth. Pensions follow at approximately £64,167 or around 28 percent in pensions and £22,500 or around 10 per cent in cash. The firm offers these tips to help avoid divorcing couples avoid financial battles.
WHEN divorce happens, society naturally thinks of the health and welfare of the divorcing couple and their children. That’s how it should be — but what about the parents of divorcing adults? If your child is divorcing, your world may seem like it’s collapsing, too. Some divorcing individuals turn to their parents for support; others keep them at an arm’s length. No matter how your adult child handles his or her divorce, know that it’s natural for you as a parent (and possibly a grandparent) to feel many of the same emotions as the divorcing couple themselves. A practical new book, Your Child’s Divorce – What to Expect, What You Can Do by Marsha Temlock, M.A. (Impact Publishers, 2006) can help you sort through these feelings, reach peace with your child’s divorce, and help support your child and grandchildren. Part I of this very pragmatic book deals with Accepting the Decision, Part II with Dealing with the Change, and Part III with Strengthening Family Bonds; the author also presents a five-stage model of the divorce process that will help demystify the process for parents of divorcing adults.
THE Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta, a Canadian not-for-profit group that focuses exclusively upon the concerns and needs of stepfamilies is conducting research, and you can help! The survey has three goals: to identify the different stepparenting styles that appear naturally in stepfamilies; to determine which of these styles are the most effective; and to determine how to improve the less effective ones. In exchange for the time you spend completing the short survey, you will be given four tasks you need to address to succeed as a stepfamily along with specific activities that will help you to master each of these tasks. According to the Foundation, this information is “hot off the press,” available nowhere else and, according to the stepfamilies that participated in this research project, “astoundingly effective.” You will be able to download the information immediately after completing the survey. For more details, visit www.stepfamily.ca.