As parents, we tend to put their children’s needs first. But, staying in an unhappy marriage may not be the best option for you or your children. In this article our attorneys review the pros and cons of divorcing when you have children.
Staying Together for the Kids
Many people believe that parents should always together for the sake of the kids regardless of the cost. They believe that having two parents in the home is always best for the child regardless of how the parents interact with each other. And, there are certainly benefits to having both parents in the home. Children in two-parent households are less likely to experience poverty than those in households headed by a single parent. This means that they are more likely to succeed in school and go to college.
But, there is another side to the argument. Children, who live in a home where parents frequently fight and disrespect one another, experience constant stress. This stress can affect their school performance and interactions with others. It can also affect parent-child relationships. Children who see parents fight feel pressured to choose sides.
Finally, parental conflict can affect your child’s future marriage. Children who grow up with parents who are not happy have no positive role model for future relationships. They may re-enact their parents’ behavior in their own marriages.
The bottom line is that if you and your spouse cannot co-parent in a respectful manner, your children will suffer.
You Have a Right to Happiness
It is important that you consider your own happiness as well as the happiness of your children. If you are angry, frustrated, or in pain, it can be difficult to be a good parent. In fact parents who are dealing with constant conflict are more likely to neglect their children simply because they are too wrapped up in their own emotions to meet their children’s needs.
If your emotional state is affecting your parenting abilities, counseling may be beneficial. A therapist can help you sort through your emotions and help you find the best solutions for you and your children.
Your Child’s Safety
Your child’s well-being should be your highest priority. If your marriage puts your child in danger of emotional or physical abuse, there is no doubt that divorce is a better option.
Making a Decision
When deciding whether or not to divorce, you should consider the following factors:
- Can your marriage be repaired?
- Can you and your spouse co-parent effectively without contradicting each other?
- Is there a risk of abuse or neglect?
- Are you happy enough?
Truth is that most children adjust well to divorce. An April 2014 study found that children in single parent households are just as likely to be happy as children raised by two parents. Although your children are an important factor to consider, they should not be your sole reason for staying married.