Is it smart to stay together for the kids?

Parents sometimes file for divorce the summer that the last child moves out and goes to college, gets married or just gets their own place. This can lead to an assumption by the children that the parents only stayed together for their sake.

Many parents do engage in this practice. They are done with the relationship. It’s no longer romantic. But they agree to essentially be roommates until the children grow up so as to avoid harming their development by getting divorced. Is this smart?

The answer is complex. Divorce is often difficult for kids in the short-term. They may not have understood that their parents are unhappy, they’re confused by the loss of structure and consistency in their lives and they don’t know exactly what it all means. This can feel like doing “harm” to the children, which is what parents want to avoid.

If you look at the long-term outcome, though, an unhappy home is often more damaging to children than a divorce. Parents who fight and argue can stress the children out. Even when it’s just clear that the parents are not happy together, it can make children uneasy and concerned. In these cases, it is often better for the children when the parents get divorced because those single parents are now happier and able to focus more fully on their children’s happiness. This can reduce the children’s stress, and they will adjust to the routine and lifestyle changes over time.

At the end of the day, if you do decide to get divorced, just make sure you know what rights you have and how to put the children first.

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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law