Divorce has a bad stigma. People often think it’s best for children if they work through their relationship issues and stick it out. That is usually false. If you are considering getting a divorce, but you are concerned about the impact on your children, consider the following ways that children could benefit from divorce depending on different situations.
Every parent has a moral and legal obligation to protect their child from physical abuse. If one parent is physically abusive toward the child or unwilling to protect the child from physical abuse by another person, the other parent has an obligation to remove the child from that environment and protect the child from any physical abuse. Filing for divorce and petitioning for full custody of the child can help protect them.
Psychological abuse can sometimes be more difficult to identify than physical abuse. Emotional manipulation, name calling, harsh punishments, and extreme anger or rage can all constitute psychological abuse. If a child is subjected to psychological abuse in the home, a divorce can facilitate the child’s removal from the abusive parent.
A child does not need to be physically abused themselves to be harmed by physical abuse in the home. Witnessing the physical abuse of a parent, sibling, or other household member can cause fear, anxiety, and other harmful psychological effects, and can teach the child a lack of respect for other people, which will have lasting effects throughout his or her life.
Watching another person be psychologically abused in the home, whether in the form of emotional manipulation, aggression, or verbal abuse, cannot only be hurtful to a child, but can also teach that child to accept such treatment or treat others the same way. Emotional abuse has lasting effects, whether direct or indirect.
When one parent is absent and not fulfilling their parental obligations of providing financial support, a divorce between the parents will enable the other parent to petition for child support. Whether child support will be ordered depends on a myriad of factors including each parent’s income, education level, and work history. Many states use a formula to calculate the proper amount of child support owed by the non-custodial parent.
Substance abuse in the home can be very harmful to a child. It is often accompanied by some form of emotional abuse and can lead to physical abuse. Additionally, children living in environments with substance abuse are more likely to gain access to drugs and alcohol.
Perhaps a child is not living in a home with physical, emotional, or substance abuse, but has two parents who are constantly fighting—that disharmony in the home can cause many negative emotions for children including fear, anxiety, stress, and depression. If parents cannot learn to deal with their marital problems in a healthy manner, divorce may provide children with a healthier, more stable environment away from the toxic tension of their parents’ fighting.
It is important for children to grow up observing healthy relationships that demonstrate love, care, mutual respect, and healthy communication. If a child’s parents fail to model a good relationship, a divorce can enable the parents to find a better suited spouse.
There is an old adage: “You teach people how to treat you.” Some couples try to stay together for the children, which may cause them to permit unacceptable treatment. This does not benefit children. If the treatment by one spouse to another has become harmful and is unchanging, a divorce can teach children to not accept that type of treatment in their own relationships.