It’s the conflict, not the divorce

There is always a great deal of concern for parents when it comes to divorce and their children. Many parents worry that their children will be “harmed” by divorce. There are many things that they may consider harm, from doing poorly in school to having a divorce of their own in the far distant future.

The divorce process is itself a great unknown, and until you have to experience it for yourself, you never really know what to expect. How long will it take, how expensive will it be, how much is your home worth, what will your parenting plan look like and more, are all questions that arise. The technical details can be complex, which is why most people rely on a divorce attorney to help them with the process.

While some of the details may keep you awake at night, it may be the vague intangibles that leave you second-guessing. Should you stay in an unhappy marriage in an attempt to minimize the danger of “damage” to your children from a divorce?

According to one study that looked at 16 years of data, if remaining in the marriage continues to expose the children to a high-conflict environment, the answer appears to be no.

The research found that children whose parents did not divorce, but who experienced high degrees of conflict, had a higher rate of future divorce than the children of couples who divorced and whose children saw a reduction in conflict.

This really is not that remarkable. If children witness their divorce parents cooperating on their behalf, exchanging them in a civil fashion, and participating in their lives in meaningful ways, such as attending school events, sports or other activities, they are more likely to be happy and well-adjusted than if they remain in a tension-filled marriage.

Source:, “One parent behavior may affect kids of divorce more than divorce itself,” Rebecca Harrington, May 22, 2016

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