Why Divorce May Hurt Wealthier Kids’ Education the Most, According to a New Study

Serving Families Throughout Palm Beach Gardens

It has been a long-standing thought that children of divorce have lower educational prospects than children whose parents stay married. A recent study from UCLA has found that divorce does indeed impact educational outcomes, however, not all children are affected equally.

The study shows that children from stable families and environments are more likely to have their education affected by divorce than children who may not have the steadiest surroundings. The study draws the conclusion that children in stable homes may find a sudden divorce disruptive and unexpected, while children in more complicated situations may not be as phased by the event.

Jennie E. Brand, Professor of Sociology and Statistics at UCLA, states “We found that parental divorce lowers the educational attainment of kids, but only among those for whom the divorce was unlikely.”

For research purposes, Brand cross referenced two data sets on families and socioeconomic backgrounds of 11,512 children and 4,931 mothers to evaluate which parents were more likely to divorce and which were not. The data was then compared to the educational outcomes of children whose parents divorced and those who stayed married. To determine the likelihood of divorce, Brand and her team considered several factors such as maternal depression, socioeconomics, differences between spouses, relationship history, work hours, etc.

Children from families where divorce was originally deemed unlikely but ultimately did happen, were 6% less likely than children of non-divorced parents to graduate from high school and 15% less likely to complete college. However, for children in families with a high risk for divorce, there was little to no impact on their likelihood of graduating from high school or college after their parents split up. Brand’s findings indicated that these children prior to their parents divorce already had disrupted lived and lower levels of academic achievements.

The main takeaway from Brand’s study is that helping to provide stability for children in families at risk for divorce can go a long way in the road to becoming educated.

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John Schutz

John Schutz

Partner at John F. Schutz, P.L.

Representing clients exclusively in family law cases for the past 24 years, Mr. Schutz is widely regarded as a marital and family law expert. He is Board Certified in marital and family law by The Florida Bar. As a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), Mr. Schutz is committed to elevating the standards and improving the practice of family law.

John Schutz

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