Money is the biggest co-parenting worry for divorced parents, according to new research - here's what else made the list

Divorce is one of the most stressful life events a person can go through, especially when there are children involved

Parents arguing in front of their daughter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Divorced parents say that money worries are the biggest challenge they face when co-parenting with the ex-spouse, according to a recent YouGov survey.

Making the decision to divorce can be stressful enough for any married couple, when you have to figure out how to talk to kids about divorce, and decide how you and your ex might be able to co-parent. But on top of these stresses, for many parents, there will be the added worry of money.

In a survey of 1,003 adult divorcees, 25 per cent cited financial matters as their biggest cause of worry when raising kids with their ex, followed by contact or visitation issues (15 per cent), differing parenting styles (12 per cent) and holidays (10 per cent). Meeting an ex's new partner is a worry for eight per cent of divorced parents, while dealing with school issues was a worry for seven per cent.

But these money issues were more prevalent during the divorce process itself, with more than half (51 per cent) of respondents saying that money was a real worry at this time, with a third also worrying about legal costs and where they would live post-divorce. A similar portion of divorced parents (47 per cent) also said that they really worried about the impact the separation would have on their children.

However, for some parents, having children impacted their attitude to the divorce process. Almost three in 10 (28 per cent) said it made them fight harder and a fifth (21 per cent) said it actually made the process more amicable, with a further 10 per cent saying the fact children were involved made them want to go through the mediation process.

Upset woman with a man's hand on her shoulder

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ros Bever, head of the family and divorce team at law firm Irwin Mitchell, who partnered with YouGov for the survey, says: “We know that children have a major impact on the way parents approach divorce. Some will fight harder, some will want a more amicable split. What this latest research shows is that the impact on children and the financial aspects of supporting their children post-divorce is front and centre of parents’ minds.

“Many divorcees are really worried about money post-divorce, especially if one partner was a higher earner in the marriage. Property and living arrangements are also very high on the list of biggest fears.”

But as the government introduced 'no fault divorce' in April 2022, which allows spouses to split without assigning blame, there is a hope that this will lead to friendlier separations which will, in turn, help to reduce the stressful nature of this process. Choosing to go down the mediation route can also massively reduce legal costs, which can leave you and your partner in a better financial situation, post-split.  

Money worries can be worse for single mothers

For single mothers, the money worries can be more pronounced, especially if they are weighing up returning to work against childcare costs. While women already face the motherhood penalty, single mothers are disproportionately affected, especially when it comes to their long-term finances. According to the recent Women & Retirement Report, 51 per cent of single mothers found it harder to find a job after they had kids, leaving 75 per cent of them not on track for even a minimum retirement lifestyle. This is largely down to mothers still being viewed as primary caregivers, with many moving to part-time hours in order to juggle work commitments and childcare responsibilities.

But as another recent report shed light on how working from home helps to keep mothers in employment, we are hopefully seeing the dial start to move on single or divorced mothers facing an unfair financial burden.

You might also be interested in whether the Divorce Day phenomenon is real, and how childcare has a disproportionate affect on working mothers.

Sarah Handley
Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor and is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around childcare costs, child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.