Many couples or married individuals considering divorce have had marital struggles for quite some time, but they don’t know when is the “right time” to end things. They wonder if things will get better and if they should wait to see if the storm passes. They wonder what their opportunities for falling in love again will be like as a divorcée. Couples with kids wonder what the effect of divorce will be on their children and if there is a good age for divorce.
While there is no magic age at which divorce becomes easier, the most important thing to consider is how your children will respond and their ability to cope. Every circumstance and every child is different, but here are some tips that may help you decide when divorce would be best for you and your children.
- While it is believed that children cannot recall many things that happen before their third or fourth birthday, the events that happen between ages 0-4 still have a significant impact on a child’s development. Though children cannot verbally express much as this age, they can feel the tension, fear, and abandonment that usually come from this upset in their normal life. It is important for parents to monitor their child’s reactions, comfort them, and show them love and affection often.
- Young kids between the ages of 5-10 need more stability and hands-on parenting time. They need a solid home foundation from which they can confidently move forward to become unique individuals, comfortable in their own skin. Studies show, and courts agree, that it is important for children at this age to have the predominant influence of both parents in their lives.
- The struggle most adolescents face as they try to understand themselves may be exacerbated by divorce. Your teen may act out aggressively or cut themselves off from you verbally or emotionally in an attempt to cope with their feelings. It is important to communicate effectively with your child about the divorce so that they understand they are not at fault. It is also important to be patient and let them approach you with their concerns when they need to.
- Children who are in their twenties when their parents divorce may begin to question their understanding of what love, commitment, and family really are. This can be especially harmful during a time when they are looking for these relationships themselves. They often feel lied to and feel that their understanding of themselves and their family is irretrievably damaged.
- Don’t pretend to be in a happy marriage for the sake of the children. Secrets kept with the intent of protecting your children from the hard reality of a broken marriage do not strengthen the relationship you have with your kids. If children find out later that their parents were unhappily married for most of their childhood, this will only worsen their feelings of being lied to and deceived.
- Most importantly, effective communication with your children is crucial as you go through a divorce. You should not treat your children as a confidant to vent to, but you and your spouse should jointly discuss with your children the decision you have made to divorce. If your children are old enough to understand, calmly explain the changes that must be made as a result of your decision.
Brad Crider is an experienced family law attorney serving the greater Mesa, Arizona area who understands that every parent wants what’s best for his or her child. His years of experience as a family lawyer and father have prepared him to fight for your child’s right to a better home life. To set up an initial consultation, call the Crider Law offices today.