Parents will often sacrifice anything for their children, even their own happiness. However, those in high conflict marriages may want to think twice about staying together “for the children.” A recent study has shown that it is continued conflict – not divorce – that leads to relationship problems for children later on in life. Understand what this might mean for the future of your family, and how you should proceed if you are in a high conflict marriage.
Prolonged Exposure to Conflict and a Child’s Adult Relationships
Several studies have focused on how divorce affects children, and many have found that it hinders a child’s ability to form lasting, healthy relationships as an adult. However, it was not clear whether this effect was due to the divorce itself, or the conflict often experienced during the process. The recent study sought to determine just that.
In an analysis of nearly 7,000 married couples and their children, researchers surveyed parents at the beginning of the study (in 1987) on the level of conflict within their marriage. Then, years later, they went back and surveyed the parents again to determine if they ever divorced. Children were also surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34 to determine if they struggled with intimate relationships. Results showed that children of divorce often fared better than those who continued to live in a family full of conflict. This remained true, even after researchers accounted for factors like behavioral problems and trouble getting along during childhood.
Should You Divorce?
No one can really tell you for certain whether or not divorce is right for your family. However, those that have a high conflict marriage may want to consider the option. At the very least, counseling should be considered since, according to the research, prolonged conflict is potentially more damaging to children in their adult lives than an actual divorce. This could help couples work through some of their issues if they still choose to stay together until the children grow up.
Moving Forward with a Divorce
If, after weighing your options and/or trying all other strategies for reducing conflict in your marriage, you decide that a divorce is the best option for you, it is important to seek skilled and experienced legal guidance. Without it, you could experience costly mistakes, elevated conflict during the divorce proceedings, and short-sidedness in the details of your case.
At Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C., we have the resources and knowledge needed to effectively assist you with the complexities of divorce. We can also help you work through the details of your parenting plan to ensure the best interest of your child is preserved. Committed to helping your family transition into the next phase of your lives, we offer personalized, comprehensive representation for your divorce, every step of the way. For more information, contact our Naperville, IL divorce attorneys. Call 630-665-7676 and schedule an initial consultation.