Divorce and child custody are daunting to think about. Often parents feel like it is their obligation to stay married “for the sake of the children” and in many instances, that actually leads to more problems and issues for the children.
While parents may have legitimate reservations about exposing their children to divorce, research shows that the effects of divorce on children can be short term, with children tending to recover quickly after the initial effects of the divorce dissipate. In fact, recent studies found only a minority of children will suffer long-term from the effects of their parents divorce.
There are, of course, many factors that determine how quickly your children might bounce back; a prominent one is how the parents themselves deal with the divorce. It stands to reason that the more contentious and adversarial the parents are with each other, the longer the affects of the divorce are likely to remain with the children.
So how do you determine if it’s time to end your marriage? A good starting point is to ask yourself, “Am I only staying in this relationship because of our children?” If you respond yes, then your answer should become clearer. The most important question, however, is whether the current home environment is healthy for your children.
If there are periods of time where you don’t speak with your spouse, or you have regular verbal arguments over relatively minor issues, exhibit passive-aggressive behavior with each other in the presence of your children or if you are both not actively engaged in creating a positive home environment for your children, then breaking up that dynamic may in fact be best for your children.
Many studies continue to show that regardless of whether children are in nuclear families, divorced families or blended, re-married families, children who remain in unhappy, violent, or aggressive homes will face substantial problems during their childhood which will spill over into their adult lives and can have long-lasting implications in their own adult relationships.
Research shows that while divorce may account for a sizeable disruption to a family immediately following the divorce, after some time — usually about two years — families will generally stabilize, and in many cases, parenting skills can actually improve. Interestingly enough, for all the research that has been done on the effects of divorce, no studies have shown divorce to be universally bad for children.
Divorce can be extremely difficult emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes, even physically, but it is a necessary evil when children are exposed to conflict, especially within their home. Many times, the quality of life and overall well-being of a child can be improved following a divorce, but whether a child will be able to adjust well is largely dependent upon the behavior of their parents.
As is the case with any type of family, the more parents can limit the amount of conflict between themselves and focus on raising their children in a cohesive, nurturing environment (even if that occurs in two separate homes), the better off their children will be.
Attorney Russell J. Frank is a partner at CPLS, P.A. and focuses his practice areas on family and marital law. Contact Attorney Frank today to discuss any family or marital legal issues you may be experiencing at email@example.com or 407-647-7887.