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Debating the possibility of divorce when you have kids

Nearly all married parents who have serious problems in their relationship debate whether it's better for their children if they remain together or divorce. Divorce is nearly always upsetting for kids to some degree. However, living in a home where parents are constantly fighting or not speaking isn't healthy either.

So how do parents decide whether ending the marriage is best for the kids (and themselves)? Of course, every situation is different. Do the pros of staying together outweigh those of divorcing or vice versa?

Some pros of staying together

If you and your spouse believe you can work through your problems, perhaps with the help of a therapist, it may be worthwhile to stay together at least long enough to give it a chance. By understanding what's behind your issues, you can often make the necessary changes and build a better relationship.

In some cases, it's financially beneficial for couples to stay together. Perhaps one spouse relies on the other for medical insurance. You may simply not be able to afford to live separately. Of course, if your problems are serious, staying together for financial reasons generally isn't a good idea for you or your children.

Some pros of separating

If the two of you can't get along, despite your best efforts, it's probably best to separate. There may also be issues like adultery that have caused a lack of trust that can't be repaired.

Of course, if there's abuse, whether emotional, verbal or physical, it's essential to leave. By staying in an abusive relationship, you don't just endanger your own well-being. You subject your children to a toxic environment that they may recreate when they get older by being abusers or victims themselves.

If you know that you'll be happier not living under the same roof as your spouse, your children will likely be happier also. They've surely sensed the strain in your marriage, no matter how much you think you've hidden it from them. Most kids are better off, at least eventually, with relatively happy parents living apart than unhappy ones living together.

If you're considering divorce, or believe your spouse is, it may be wise for a family law attorney to provide advice. Whatever your final decision, it's best to plan for potential divorce so that you aren't caught unprepared for custody and support issues, property division decisions and other elements of divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, "Should You Put Off Divorce for the Sake of the Children?," Vikki Ziegler, Nov. 01, 2017

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