No one gets married with plans of divorcing their spouse later down the road. People change, and sometimes the martial union just doesn’t work out. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), up to 50 percent of all married couples will divorce. When two parents get divorced, however, they need to consider the ways in which this separation will affect their children.
Children of divorced parents must adjust to a new schedule. Rather than having a single home, they now have two homes. It’s not uncommon for children to stay with their mother – assuming she’s given custody by the courts – on most days while visiting their father every other weekend. This routine change can disrupt their normal activities until they grow accustomed to it.
Upon hearing that their parents are getting divorced, many children become stressed. They assume this is the end to their otherwise normal family, not knowing what the future holds. This divorce-induced stress can create other problems such as trouble sleeping, lower school performance, and behavioral disorders.
Some children may also experience financial hardship during the early months following their parents’ divorce. Statistics show that the average cost of getting divorced in the United States is about $15,000. In addition to paying for the actual divorce, parents must also cope with changes in household income. Rather than both parents earning income for the household, there’s now only a single parent keeping the house financially afloat. Items they are accustomed to, such as name brand clothing or the latest gaming technology, may not be available to them after the divorce.
The Blame Game
It’s not just the adults who play the blame game when getting divorced; children point the finger as well. Some children may side with their mother, believing it’s their father’s fault. Others have the opposite view, believing their mother caused the divorce. Alternatively, some children think they are reason for their parents’ divorce. It’s important for both parents to sit down and explain to their children that no one is responsible for the divorce. It’s a mutual decision that’s in the best interest of the family.
Divorce consistently ranks as one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. It’s even more stressful, however, when children are involved. Thankfully, children are resilient and will adapt to this change. While usually feeling stressed at first, they’ll experience relief and satisfaction in their peaceful new homes when their parents put them first.
Carin Maxey’s blog posts are not legal advice and are meant for informational purposes only. If you require legal advice, please seek a licensed professional in your jurisdiction.