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Why You Shouldn’t Stay Together for the Kids

Filing for divorce is a big decision that no couple chances lightly. After all, for better and worse, the transition from marriage to singlehood ultimately affects every aspect of a person’s life. Divorce, in and of itself, can also be a complicated and stressful experience. Spouses need to hire attorneys and negotiate debt allocation, asset division, and child custody; they may even need to go to court if they can’t settle on a divorce agreement. No matter how contentious or difficult a marriage is, spouses may decide to forgo the divorce process for two specific reasons: fear of change, and the needs of their children. Unfortunately, the latter is occasionally an excuse for the former, and it almost always has a detrimental effect on any children involved.

It’s estimated that one in four married couples stay together for the sake of their children. Theoretically, their intent is to wait until the child goes to college or moves out before filing for divorce. But once the child has left the nest, many of these couples are at a loss. The scapegoat is gone, but the marriage remains. Adults who are too afraid to move on with their lives are still facing the same financial concerns and fears of loneliness.

Psychologists and relationship experts state that staying in an unhappy marriage causes harm to all parties involved. Divorce can be sad, but it doesn’t have to be a failure. Choosing to live in unhappiness and cutting off your chance to experience new opportunities is the greater tragedy. Yes, it takes courage to live for your children, but sometimes that means providing them with a healthy environment where their parents live and thrive apart.

Staying in a marriage for your children is detrimental for the following reasons:

  1. Everyone is unhappy: The problems don’t go away just because you’ve decided to stay together. You can pretend to be happy for your children, but they are smart and highly intuitive. They know what it means when their parents go outside or lock themselves in a room to argue. This perpetual bitterness and resentment can only grow and permeate the household.
  2. Children feel guilty: Again, children are smarter than adults can ever comprehend. They understand that their parents are miserable, and even feel guilty because they “know” they’re the reason this unhappiness continues. These feelings become more intense when can’t help but confide in their children out of marital spite or loneliness. According to Resolution, a family law organization, 82% of children between the ages of 14-22 say that it’s better their parents divorced.
  3. Children model their relationships after their parents: Children learn by observing and adapting to the world around them. Moms and dads are the people they instinctively look to for love and guidance. When their foundation for intimacy and trust is nothing more than conflict and avarice, they may have trouble developing positive friendships and romantic relationships in the future.  

Start the Next Chapter of Your Life

Contact the Des Moines divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw if you have any questions about divorce or concerns about how the process may affect your children.  We can guide you through all matters involving property division, child custody, and financial support options.

Call The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw at (515) 200-7571 to schedule a free consultation.

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