Woman and children suffer the most when a relationship breaks down, states new research by the University of Essex.

An analysis of how parents cope in the years after separation found that one in five single mums live in poverty. The study, conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the university, also revealed that 19% of children fell into relative poverty after their parents separated.

Mike Brewer, a professor of economics, said: “Women continue to see living standards fall by more after separation than men, especially when children are involved, but even for couples with no children. Mothers and children from high-income families see especially large drops in living standards, because the loss of the man’s earnings is in no way compensated for by higher income from alimony, child maintenance, benefits and tax credits, and having fewer mouths to feed.”

Fiona Weir, chief executive of charity Gingerbread, places some of the blame on inadequate child maintenance systems, as fewer than two in five single parents receive payments from the other parent.

“The findings underline how vital it is to get child maintenance flowing to single-parent families,” she said. “The government must ensure the changes it is making to the child maintenance system don’t see this figure fall even lower.”

For the full Guardian article by Mark Townsend visit: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/28/women-children-family-breakdown-divorce-living-standards