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What is worse: divorce or staying together for the child’s sake?

When Virginia couples decide to end their marriage, they may be concerned about how the split will affect their children. This is with good reason, as a divorce affects every member of the family, not just the spouses. Some parents may think they are better off putting the divorce off or even staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children. However, staying together for this reason, rather than divorcing, can have a negative effect on the child.

First of all, if domestic abuse is present in the marriage, then the victim of abuse should leave the marriage. Children exposed to domestic abuse may end up believing that such abuse is what a “normal” relationship looks like, meaning the cycle of abuse may continue if they end up marrying as adults. Moreover, children are not safe living in a home where domestic abuse occurs. Therefore, spouses who are the victim of domestic violence should not stay with their partner for the sake of the children.

Sometimes, though,there is no abuse, but a couple simply cannot get along despite their best efforts. When counseling and other measures to save the relationship fail, it is important to realize that some marriages just can’t be fixed. This is important to keep in mind, as staying together for the kids involves cooperation and sacrifice. Sometimes, when a couple simply cannot work together and their marriage cannot be saved, they are best off divorcing.

In addition, kids will pick up on any negativity or hostility between their parents, even if the parents are trying to stay together for the sake of the children. They will know that their parent’s relationship with one another is no longer genuine. This negativity could cause a child to have more anxiety and stress than a divorce would have on them. While a divorce is a big change in a child’s life, if, in the end, each parent is happier following the split, then the child can adjust to living in two happy households rather than one sad household.

An experienced family law attorney may be able to help an individual assess these options with an eye on what is best for that individual and his or her children.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Should You Put Off Divorce for the Sake of the Children?” Vikki Ziegler, Nov. 1, 2017

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