If you're having difficulties in your marriage, it can be hard to decide whether or not you should file for divorce. Often people wish to try and work on their marriages for the sake of their children, or to avoid the shame and stigma around "giving up". However, when your marriage is truly and finally over, and you know it, it can still be hard to take that step and file for divorce. Concerns about splitting assets and property, and splitting parenting time, can make many people hesitate to end a marriage even when they are unhappy and want out.
If you've reached the tipping point in your marriage, and are ready to take the next step, call Jeanne Wilson today to speak with an experienced Colorado Springs divorce attorney. With the rise in divorce rates, we have years of combined experience in divorce and family law to help you through what can seem like the worst time of your life as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Does Divorce Affect Minor Children?
There is no doubt that children of divorce have life experiences that children with intact families normally do not experience. Children of divorce tend to exhibit behavioral issues, lean towards delinquency, and exhibit impulsive behaviors, however, these problems are not permanent and normally go away as children adjust to their new lives. Minor children tend to exhibit these behaviors after the divorce of their parents as a way to gain control over something in their lives, like their personal choices and behavior, when they feel like they do not have any control.
This lack of control comes from many different factors, such as having to switch back and forth between their parents' houses, not being old enough to truly understand the concept of divorce and the dissolution of their family structure. If you and your ex-partner are able to remain amicable, even if just for the sake of your children, you lessen the effect that your divorce has on your children and quicken the time it will take for your children to return to build new daily routines and begin to feel better again.
Creating a custody arrangement or parenting plan, for example, that is based on your children's wants and needs rather than fighting and having a messy divorce can help buffer children from the impact of divorce.
Should I Wait Until My Children are Older to File for Divorce?
While waiting until your children are no longer children may seem like a good idea, in reality, it is not. Any large changes in life can affect minors, and adult, children. Events such as the death of a pet or the death of loved ones, and the ending of friendships or relationships, are unavoidable events that can cause issues for the children involved. However, because these events are unavoidable, and a natural part of life, it is better to face these issues head-on and handle them rather than ignore them or push them aside.
This is the same for divorce: children are often much more perceptive than their parents realize and know long before they are told that a divorce is going to happen. The longer you drag on a dead relationship, the more damage can be done to minor children. For example, if you and your spouse fight often, this can create unhealthy relationship habits in your children that will affect their relationships as adults.
Waiting until your children are adults can also do exactly what you are trying to avoid: affect your children's mental well-being. While late teens and young twenties may be considered an adult, many people are still "growing up" during these years, and finding out that their parent's divorce was put off for several years because of them can be harmful to their mental health.
They may blame themselves for their parents' unhappiness, as their parents would have gotten divorced earlier if not for them. For all of these reasons, it is easy to see that there is no "perfect" age for divorce when children are involved, no matter their ages.
What Can I Do to Stop My Divorce From Affecting My Children?
The best thing that you can do for your children while going through a divorce is to be open and honest with them and try to answer any questions they have as honestly as possible. You should also make sure that the information you are giving your children is age appropriate.
For example, if your marriage is ending due to infidelity or an affair, you may not want to explain to young children what an affair is, while teenage children may be allowed to be more in the loop. You can also make sure that you spend one-on-one quality time with all of your children during the divorce process, to ensure that they know that they are loved and that they are not at fault for your divorce.
Even if you say all the right, age-appropriate things, and make sure your children feel validated, offering them the chance to go to therapy is also a good suggestion. Therapy gives children a chance to express their true feelings without the fear of being scolded or upsetting their parents, as they are able to speak to someone who is outside of the situation and is only there to listen to them and guide them in a safe and healthy way. Therapists can also provide family resources that can be helpful to the mental and emotional lives of everyone in your family and extended family.
Co-parenting is also a great way to ensure that your children are able to cope and heal mentally from parental divorce. When the custodial parent and noncustodial parent are able to put their differences aside and do what is best for their minor children, this creates an environment that is full of healthy communication.
Keeping a regular schedule for custody can help your post-divorce family return to some normalcy and routine. Dealing with an absent parent on top of divorce can be permanently mentally scarring for young children, and cause extreme abandonment issues that will last their entire lives.
Don't Wait Any Longer
At the end of the day, the best time to divorce is when you realize that there is no hope for your marriage. Dragging on a loveless and unhappy marriage affects everyone involved, including minor or adult children. There is no perfect age for children to go through the divorce process with their parents, but the faster and smoother a divorce goes, the better for all minor and school-aged children involved.
If you are ready to take the first step towards your divorce contact The Law Office of Jeanne M. Wilson and Associates today for an initial consultation. Let our family lawyer in Colorado Springs help you through these hard times so that you and your children can begin your journey to healing together.