Many parents put off divorcing – even when they’re both in agreement that it’s what they want – because they want to do what’s best for the kids. However, there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that in many cases, the opposite is true. Consulting with a Monmouth County divorce lawyer can help you sort through some of the questions and doubt you may be having.
It’s estimated that parents of approximately 1.5 million children divorce annually. There is no doubt that in the early stages of a divorce, kids of any age may experience some degree of trauma and have a difficult time adjusting. This is often accompanied by feelings of shock, anger, disbelief and anxiety. But as Scientific American has reported, these kinds of reactions often subside after a year or two. Only a small percentage of children suffer longer-term effects. Research suggests that it’s not so much the fact of divorce that plays a role in lasting damage to children, but how a divorce unfolds.
High-conflict separations and divorces tend to be associated with greater trouble adjusting. Consider too, the fact that if there is a great deal of discontent and discord during the marriage, the effects of staying in that relationship – and subjecting your children to its toxic effects – can be just as damaging. Many children in these families express relief when their parents ultimately decide to separate – and there is finally peace.
Among the small percentage of young children who experience long-term divorce-related problems, researchers have concluded it often has to do with the ongoing troubles between the parents or with a parent who is struggling individually (i.e., depression or anxiety that may cause the quality of one’s parenting to suffer). We often recommend our clients seek individual and/or family counseling as everyone adjusts to the new normal.
If you’re still considering putting off a divorce, think about the type of relationship that you’re modeling to your child. If a marriage is truly irretrievably broken, spouses may find it impossible to communicate with each other in a way that is constructive when they’re both encumbered by the failed relationship – no matter how much they each love their kids. When that happens, interactions can tend to be disrespectful or dismissive – not the kind of healthy relationship they’d ever want for their kids as they grow older. And your kids are watching you when they consider what an ideal romantic relationship looks like. If one or both of you is constantly yelling, belittling, giving the silent treatment or acting in ways that are verbally abusive, your child is will absorb all that.
As one sociologist interviewed by the Huffington Post pointed out, sometimes the question isn’t how the divorce will affect children but how the marriage is currently affecting them.
“We tend to focus so much on how divorce affects children, but you have to remember they’ll have had 18 years of living inside their parents’ marriage.”
Of course, all marriages and families are unique, and you may have some legitimate reasons to postpone any major action. But it never hurts to discuss your thought process with an attorney who can help you determine what steps you need to take if you do decide to file the paperwork and move forward with a divorce.
Contact us at (732) 810-0034 or email us through our website.