Published on June 29, 2018 a DREES study (French Department for Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics) analyzes the impact of parental separation on children entering adulthood.

At the end of 2014, there were 1.4 million young adults aged from 18 to 24 whose parents had separated, meaning 1 in 4 of young adults.

For more than 80% of these young adults, the separation of their parents took place before the age of 18. The “DREES” study observed that residing with only one parent distorts the relationship with the other parent. For example, almost one third of those whose parents are separated no longer have a relationship with one of their parents, most often their father (27% out of 31%).

When there is no longer any contact with one of their parents, 49 % of these young adults report that it is related to the separation, with only 14% citing geographic distance from the parent as a cause.

Young people with separated parents are more likely to leave the parental home than others, especially if the parent with whom they lived after separation had a child from a new union. 45% of young people whose parents are separated continue their education, compared to 53% of those whose parents are in a relationship. The length of education of 18-24 year old’s whose parents had separated before their majority decreased on an average from 6-12 months. They are more often unemployed or inactive. Unless the separated parents have maintained a good relationship, they are likely to receive less education. If they continue their education, young people with separated parents remain closer, and more often cohabitate with their partner.

Paternal relationships are particularly affected by separation. Among these young adults, 25% no longer have any contact with their father. For those who continue to see their father, 40% report experiencing stress if there are step-children involved or newborn children from the union. “Whatever the living situation following separation, girls are more likely to experience a stressful paternal relationship.” Alternating residences and staying with the father are slightly more frequent for boys (21%) than for girls (16%). When these young adults of separated parents do have discussions with their father, they talk less to him about money, leisure, politics, education, culture, daily life, their love life or sexual activities than other young people.