Published on May 31, 2017 on behalf of Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC

A wide body of research has focused on the ill effects that divorce can bring to children. Social science is rife with warnings of the many negative outcomes that can occur for kids whose parents divorce. However, very little is said about the negatives that accompany a family structure in which two unhappy parents decide to stay together “for the children.” In such households, kids can live in circumstances that are far from ideal. In those instances, divorce could be a far less damaging option for Virginia families.

Take, for example, a family in which the parents hold a great deal of resentment toward one another, and where fighting is a common occurrence. Children can see the tension within a household, and pick up on the undercurrents of anger, resentment, and bitterness that can permeate an unhappy union. Parents who stay together for the sake of their children are rarely doing those children any favors, and are instead providing a terrible example of what marriage and family should mean.

On the other hand, a civil divorce can teach children a number of valuable lessons. Kids who go through divorce learn that compromise is an important tool in relating to others. When parents work through the details of their divorce and are amicable as co-parents, kids learn effective strategies for problem-solving, as well as how to treat others with kindness, even when there is a disagreement.

Most importantly, Virginia parents are often in a more emotionally stable position after a divorce and have more energy and time to devote to their children. Kids benefit from having two households that are free from tension, as opposed to living within a combined household in which stress and strife are constantly present. As time moves on, kids will move beyond the period of adjustment that follows a divorce, and many will benefit from having two happy parents to rely upon.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Why a Good Divorce Is Better Than a Bad Marriage for Kids“, Brette Sember, March 24, 2015