Last 7 January 2019, most solicitors around the UK experienced a surge of inquiries regarding divorce and separation. Dubbed as Divorce Day (which can change annually), it is often a result of the troubles during the holidays and the end of the year, experts say.
Christmas, after all, is a time of family gatherings; and that can mean not only stress but also long-buried resentment and other personal issues couples have avoided perhaps all their lives.
It can be a period of self-reflection, and for some couples, the older ones especially, it’s a time to ask themselves, ‘Am I still happy with the marriage?’ or ‘Is this the person I truly want to spend the rest of my life with?’
While married individuals might find it easy to ask their legal options, the reality isn’t. Divorce doesn’t only separate couples and properties. It is also the breakdown of a family, which can have a profound effect on the children.
How Divorce Changes Children’s Lives
Couples who decide to end their marriage should consider hiring a family law specialist not only to guide them with the proceedings but to help them minimize the effects of divorce on their children.
The kids also go through an emotional upheaval before, during, and after the divorce. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych), children are more likely to feel anger, insecurity, and loss. Some of them can also develop a sense of guilt, believing they are the cause of the marriage’s demise.
They can also feel rejected and alone, especially when either or both couples already have new partners around. A University College London study involving over 6,000 children showed divorce could affect the mental health of children. About 16 percent of them experienced emotional problems. Meanwhile, 7 percent of children from 7 to 14 years old developed conduct issues.
The patterns were the same regardless of their income or social background. It merely meant being privileged wouldn’t shelter a child from the ill effects of the marriage breakdown.
A 1998 review of more than 200 divorce-related studies during that time revealed the impact of divorce on children could extend for years and even into adulthood. In summary, these children had a higher risk of becoming poor and living in inadequate housing. They might require more medical interventions or have more children at an earlier age. Compared to those who came from intact families, they had worse outcomes. This is even if the distress from the actual divorce can fade over time.
These risks can then affect many aspects of their lives. For example, being poor can limit the education they receive as well as that of their children. Limited educational achievement can also mean fewer working opportunities. Their behavioral problems can escalate and increase the likelihood of incarceration. They are also likely to experience marriage separation or divorce.
Divorce is going to affect children in more ways than one, but in some cases, it remains to be the best decision for the family. Couples, nevertheless, should make the children’s welfare one of the primary goals during the proceedings. Professionals such as family law specialists can help in this area.