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(Britain) Parents of twins 'more likely to divorce'

Families with twins are more likely to split up with financial distress playing a major role in break-ups, a study has found.

The Telegraph
16 March 2010

Parents of twins 'more likely to divorce'
By Nick Collins

Families with twins are more likely to split up with financial distress playing a major role in break-ups, a study has found.
 
Research revealed that 28 per cent of parents of twins or triplets separated or divorced, compared with 24 per cent of other families.

The study, entitled "The Effects of Twins and Multiple Births Families and Their Living Standards", showed that financial pressures were among the most common reasons given for the breakdown of families.

The report, supported by the Twin and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA), found that families with multiple births were more likely to report a drop in their income level following the birth of their children.

They were twice as likely as families of "singletons" to report "quite difficult" financial stress, and also more likely to be in arrears on bill payments and to have used up all of their savings.

It also found that twins and triplets experienced higher levels of material deprivation as parents struggled to pay for "key child-related items" including holidays, school uniforms, birthday parties and leisure equipment such as bicycles.

The study's author, Steve McKay, Professor of Social Research in Birmingham University's School of Social Policy, said: "The report found that twins and triplets are more likely to be born to married and older couples, who are in paid employment.

"These factors should provide some degree of 'protection' against low incomes and deprivation, so it is deeply concerning that twins or triplets are experiencing greater levels of material deprivation than singletons, and that their families are at greater risk of separation and divorce.

"There is a noticeable difference in the statistics when it comes to separation and divorce  this is not just by chance."

The report analysed the data sets of The Millennium Cohort Study and the annual Family Resources Survey, the Government's key source of statistics on poverty and low income.

It found that 62 per cent of multiple birth families said they were financially worse off after their babies were born, compared with 40 per cent of other parents.

Unlike many countries throughout Europe, including the Republic of Ireland, there are no additional state support or benefits for families having a multiple birth.

TAMBA chief executive Keith Reed said: "The main parties say they are committed to strong families, and helping mothers back to work, but many families with multiple births are in dire straits because successive governments have ignored their needs.

"We call on the Government to join other countries, like the Republic of Ireland, in supporting families of multiple births with common sense measures, including amendments to child benefit provisions and support for those who wish to use preschool or other childcare providers so that they can return to work."
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