No one can claim that divorce is an easy experience that has no effect on children. However, the other extreme has been promoted for years, that divorce is devastating and has lifelong negative consequences. It turns out that this conventional thought may be just as extreme and inaccurate.
Separating myth from reality
In a recent issue of Scientific American, the issue of just how bad divorce is for children was examined. While some parents are driven to remain in a failed marriage for “the sake of the children,” it appears that there is no need —and in fact, doing so can be detrimental.
Myth: Children are scarred for life by divorce
Fact: Research indicates that a comparatively small percentage of children suffer long-term effects of divorce. Most have shed the negative feelings associated with the divorce after two years, maximum.
Myth: Children of divorce have difficulty with their social relationships, psychological health
Fact: Only a small percentage of children studies into adulthood were found to have more problems than those from intact homes, and even this correlation was uncertain, as other factors, such as general parenting, may have been the culprit rather than the divorce itself.
Myth: Staying together in an unhappy marriage is better for children than divorce
Fact: Unless parents are masters of hiding their feelings and keeping all disagreements hidden from their children, this is very unlikely. Children exposed to bickering and other signs that their parents are unhappy together are likely to suffer anxiety, stress and depressions, as well as develop poor concepts of what to expect from a marriage.
There is scant doubt that being raised by parents in regular conflict with one another is unhealthy for all involved. If your marriage has reached the point where everyone in your family is miserable, it is time to speak to a qualified divorce lawyer and make a better life for your kids.
Jacqueline Newman joined Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP in 1998 and is now the managing partner of the firm. Ms. Newman’s practice consists of litigation, collaborative law and mediation. She specializes in complex high net worth matrimonial cases and also in negotiating prenuptial agreements. Read more about Jacqueline Newman.