1. People & Relationships
Cathy Meyer

For The Sake of The Children

By February 21, 2012

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Children are the overlooked victims of divorce. They are the silent "third party" to their parent's divorce. We hear parents say that their children are "resilient" and judges talk about the "best interest of the children." In my work over the years I've seen very little attempt made by parents and the Family Court system to do what children truly need...put them and their needs first.

Parents make the decision to divorce without contemplating what their divorce will do to their children. They pay no attention to research done by sociologist that proves there is long lasting and negative consequences of divorce on children.

Judges give visitation rights to parents who have a record of domestic violence or strong evidence that they are a danger to their children and others. A child's safety and well being should be of paramount concern when deciding the fate of a child experiencing their parent's divorce. More often than not, the rights of the parents trump what is in fact the "best interest of the child" during divorce.

With all the evidence pointing to the fact that divorce does major emotional harm to our children and that the Family Court system is ill equipped when dealing with children shouldn't parents stay together for the sake of their children?

Consider this; over 60% of divorces filed are by couples who are in low conflict marriages. There is no domestic abuse, no yelling, screaming and fighting. These are marriages where the spouses got caught up in life; they are busy with work and children and lose touch with each other. Instead of paying attention to each other and nourishing their relationship they became over-involved in the details of everyday life.

And, their children who have lived in an environment that felt safe and secure pay the biggest price because they are caught totally off guard by the divorce. Children raised in low conflict families actually suffer more negative consequences than those from high conflict families due to the shock they experience over losing their intact family.

For the sake of your children, I hope you will reconsider your desire for a divorce if your marriage is low conflict. You will find it is less stressful for all concerned if you put effort into nourishing and rebuilding your relationship rather than dragging yourself and your children through the Family Court system.

March 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm
(1) S J says:

Thank you for including the phrase “low conflict marriage” in your article. The emotinal and mental abuse in my 36 year marriage was almost always directed at me but now, after 3 years of separation; I can see that my children suffered so much by watching me being abused and of course, they also were living on eggshells. My son, age 13, was not able to choose his own cereal 3 years ago. I can see that he is so much healthier, now. Divorce is horrible and I know that the children will grieve over lifetime losses but they are no longer facing the fear and uncertainty of not knowing when their word or action would preceed unreasonable rage (even if it was directed at me). Thank you, sj

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