Even Amicable Divorces Affect Kids

The financial and emotional concerns that parents face when entering into a divorce can be overwhelming, including questions of who will get the familial residence, how all of the family’s property will be divided, whether or not spousal and child support will be awarded, who will obtain custody of the children and make decisions regarding their welfare, and so on. Arguments and prolonged battles in court can make these challenges exponentially worse, and are ideally avoided. Many divorcing parents, however, are able to work through their differences in resolving these issues and obtain an “amicable divorce.” For the children, however, even where the parents enter into an amicable divorce, the emotional effects and lifestyle adjustments can be significant.

Children of Divorce Face Ongoing Emotional Problems

A major study on children of divorce released in 2010 found that children whose parents had entered into a divorce were more likely than their counterparts to have behavioral and emotional problems, lower social competence and self-esteem, and to struggle more academically. While a separate study found that many children are able to adequately process the trauma of divorce and go on to become well-adjusted adults, many nevertheless retained profound feelings of loss over the end of their parents’ marriages, and in particular the loss of a father’s involvement in their lives and a sense of distance and lack of intimacy with their fathers.

In addition, many children of amicable divorces may potentially endure a lower standard of living than they previously enjoyed if finances among the separate parents are limited. After all, even where parents minimize the cost of the divorce process and are able to come to an amicable agreement regarding finances, those parents are no longer sharing the costs of housing, utilities, taxes and other community costs, and instead are having to pay for those expenses separately at a greater combined cost, which means less money that can be spent on the child for clothing, entertainment, vacations, educational materials and the like.

Children Typically Do Better in Shared Custody Arrangements

One encouraging point, however, is that one recent study has found that children in shared custody situations suffer less stress than had previously been thought. For years, child experts had assumed that kids who spend time living with both parents separately on a regular basis face more stress than kids who live permanently with one parent, due to the continuous moving between the multiple homes. A 2015 study of over 150,000 kids in 6th and 9th grades, however, came to the opposite conclusion, finding that, while children living with both parents at the same time fared the best, children who moved back and forth between two parents’ homes face less stress than those kids who lived with one parent continuously.

The researchers believed that while there was some stress associated with the constant shuffling of living spaces, this was outweighed by the benefits of having regular interaction with both parents and the doubling up of social circles and resources provided separately by the parents. As Ned Holstein, MD, acting executive director of the National Parents Organization told Time magazine, “Clearly, taking the suitcase back and forth once or twice a week so that you can spend a lot of time with both parents is way better for the kids than the alternative of basically losing an intimate and closely loving relationship with one parent.”

If You Need Assistance With A Divorce

When entering into the difficult and complicated process of obtaining a divorce in California, you should do everything you can to make the process as stress-free for you and your children as possible. The Gastelum Law Firm has years of experience in working towards amicable and fair divorce resolutions in Los Angeles, and will work to zealously represent your interests as you go through the divorce process. Contact The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum today for a free consultation.