Every year, over 2 million people get divorced in the United States. And although the overall national divorce rate has slowed slightly over the past few years, some states still report high numbers. In fact, in Utah, approximately 10 people per 1,000 will go through a divorce. Attorneys handling divorces in Salt Lake City have a number of concerns beyond just the divorce.
People are not just worried about how divorce will affect their jobs, their incomes, their lifestyles, and their future, but indeed, one of the most important questions is whether the divorce will cause lasting damage to their children.
What Are Some Typical Problems Associated with Divorce?
Children love both parents. No matter how much you despise your spouse, understand that your children likely see that person the same way they see you. Children are built to seek approval.
Moreover, research repeatedly confirms that children from intact two-parent homes do better in school, achieve higher grade levels, go to college with greater success, and even have a higher probability of being in successful marriages themselves. This, however, does not mean children will be destroyed by divorce. Here are a few of the most common childhood problems that can be attributed to divorce.
1. Marital Skew
This psychological event occurs when there is an imbalance in the relationship that eventually begins to “skew” the overall home life. One spouse becomes dominant and has a negative behavior that everyone recognizes. Yet, the other spouse either ignores it or denies it. Often children pick up on this imbalance. Young boys who watch a weak mother being bullied or unable to stand up for herself are more likely to begin modeling these behaviors in their own male-female relationships. Sadly, they may even begin to mistreat their own mothers, as it is a learned behavior.
2. Marital Schism
This situation manifests an insidious interplay between both parents. In these scenarios, the adults know the marriage is failing. They understand that they should probably separate. However, for one reason or another, they choose to “tough it out.” In generations past, the mantra was “make it work for the kids.” Today, it is often financial distress that makes people stay married. After all, some families are barely able to get by on two incomes, let alone just one. Whatever the reason, as the dysfunctional couple stays married, the children begin to learn that they can get their parents to do what they want by playing them against one another. Perhaps the child will ask mom for something. When he receives a “no,” he tells dad that mom is being mean and refusing to give him the thing he is seeking. Dad, in an effort to win the child’s affection, will give in to the child’s demands. This teaches the children to be dishonest and manipulative.
3. Temporary Affection & Abandonment
Finally, beyond psychological disasters, some children of divorce may develop deep feelings of abandonment. This often occurs when one parent is limited to very brief visitation or there is a long distance to bridge, perhaps due to relocation or remarriage of one spouse. Very young children may have considerable difficulty understanding that daddy or mommy cannot be around as much as before. They may not understand that the parent is suffering too. Thus, the child feels abandoned by a formerly active and involved parent.
Moreover, divorced spouses often begin openly dating again too early. The introduction of multiple dating partners too early can cause children to begin making emotional bonds with people who will invariably not stick around. Once these bonds are created and broken several times, children often see affection as fleeting and parental relationships as temporary. This can lead to a lifetime of distrust and misguided affection.
What Can I Do To Protect My Kids In A Divorce?
The first step is already within reach. If you are reading this article, you are thinking about your children’s needs. You and your spouse need to carefully discuss how you can separate with respect and dignity.
While this is not always possible, and there are always extreme cases where abuse or physical violence is involved. In those cases, safety outweighs any short-term or even long-term emotional effects. However, for the vast majority of typical marriages, the assistance of an experienced divorce Salt Lake City divorce lawyer can be the first step. Ultimately, only you can decide what is right for your family, but if divorce is inevitable, some excellent methods of reducing the effects of divorce are:
- open dialogue
- amicable resolution
- possibly even a mediated divorce
Finally, you should avoid making negative and hateful comments about your ex-spouse, even if he or she is doing it. And unless there are serious concerns about physical or emotional harm, you should avoid the urge to limit your child’s relationship with your ex-spouse.
Years of Experience
Divorce attorney Jill Coil at Coil Law, LLC uses in-depth knowledge of divorce law and years of experience dealing with divorcing couples to guide you through the process and help you find the resources you need to have a successful divorce thus hopefully reducing the potential harm to your children. Contact us at 801-980-3972.
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