How Children Experience Divorce

The girl in the foreground at quarrel of parents

Parents who plan to divorce worry about the short-term and long-term impact that decision will have on their children. They may even wonder whether they should stay married just for the sake of the children. A recent study done by Resolution, a family law organization in the UK, found that 82% of children who have endured family breakups would prefer that parents break up rather than stay together if they are unhappy. Other studies show that children are more affected by their parents’ behavior during and after a divorce than by their parent’s choice to divorce.

If parents do choose to divorce, reducing the level of conflict is imperative for the well-being of the children. Resolution’s chair, Jo Edwards, said, “being exposed to conflict and uncertainty about the future are what’s most damaging for children, not the divorce itself.” Children should never be put in a position where they have to choose between the parents or be put in the middle of the parents’ conflict.

A major concern of parents in our office is making the divorce process be as smooth as possible for the sake of their children. Protecting their children is often one of the main motivations for choosing mediation or collaborative law rather than litigation. In addition to helping parents reach agreements they can both accept, mediation and collaborative law also provide an opportunity for parents to learn how to better communicate which is essential for future co-parenting.  If both parents are willing, they can develop a new dynamic that makes communication easier, even where there was previously tension and hostility.

Deciding to divorce is a difficult decision, especially when there are children involved. Parents who decide to divorce have the opportunity to minimize the negative impacts on their children by keeping their children shielded from their conflict.

For more on the study by Resolution click here:




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