09 APR 2006
Ian Butlin, Family Mediator. For several years now professionals working with, or on behalf, of children whose parents live apart have been exhorted by researchers to familiarise themselves with research findings. There have, after all, been several hundred such research projects in the last 15 years. Sceptics of the usefulness of evidence based research might justifiably point out that findings can be contradictory and often dependent on the questions asked. There are, after all, 'lies, damn lies and statistics'. If, however, common themes emerge across the range of findings, these cannot so easily be dismissed. Ian Butlin says that this is now the case. That being so, the debate has moved on. The issues now are first, how best to disseminate these findings to professionals in the field, and secondly, how best to inform parents, who live apart of their content and significance. Some of the main emergent themes from the research are outlined in the article including as a group, the children of separated parents are twice as likely to suffer adverse effects on their adjustment and future life chances, compared to those from intact families. This need not be the case if parents and professionals put into place the necessary protective factors to maximise positive outcomes, informed by findings outlined in the article. See October  Fam Law 889 for the full article.