Atlanta, GA- It’s January and divorce attorneys throughout the country are gearing up to handle an influx of divorce filings. When a couple decides to divorce, they are aware that the decision will have an effect on their children, but a new survey from the UK indicates they don’t realize how big an impact divorce can really have on their children.

In the survey, conducted by Netmums.com, 1,000 parents and 100 children were asked separately about divorce and a picture of how deeply divided parents and children are on the issue of divorce.

Thirty-nine percent of children said they hid their feelings about divorce from their parents. Twenty percent said there was no point in communicating their feelings because their parents were “too wrapped up in themselves” and another 14 percent said they could not be honest with their parents about how upset they were about the divorce. One in 12 children said they felt forced to watch over a parent who was having trouble coping with the divorce.

The children reported being very upset about their parent’s divorce.  Almost one-third of the children said they were “devastated” by the divorce and 13 percent though they were at fault.

Some of the children responding to the survey admitted to harming themselves, turning to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism and some even attempted suicide but were found in time. While these are alarming admissions, the survey also showed disconnect between how parents think their children are coping and how children are truly coping.

Seventy-seven percent of parents believe their children are coping well with the divorce. Only 18 percent believed their children were happy their parents split up. Only one in ten parents realized their children were hiding their feelings and ever fewer realized their children turned to drugs, alcohol and self-harm to cope.

The survey also revealed that children were less concerned than their parents about how society viewed their broken family. Sixty-eight percent of children said divorce was not a big deal while only 28 percent of parents shared that view.

Divorce is hard on everyone involved, and sometimes the tension between two parents will impact their children. Unfortunately, parents sometimes use their children as pawns, tools to get revenge on the other. Other people are so caught up in the many aspects of unraveling a marriage that their children are pushed in the shadows. Couples who decide to divorce must make a child’s well-being their top priority and they can avoid many pitfalls by retaining a divorce attorney.

Attorneys who specialize in family law and divorce will guide their clients through the process of determining child custody. A divorce attorney understands that this is an emotionally charged issue and have the skills necessary to help parents, regardless of how acrimonious the divorce, come up with custody arrangements that will be benefit both parents and keep the best interest of the child foremost in proceedings.