Protecting What You Value Most

Will my children have long term impacts from my divorce?

Many have reported the potential negative effects that divorce has on children, often citing studies showing decreased academic performance, psychological issues or even negative health impacts. However, recent research has demonstrated that these consequences do not affect children equally.

Divorcing Texans may be able to mitigate negative impacts on their children by knowing the factors that contribute to greater resilience in children of divided families.

Education and status

Findings in a 2020 study by the University of Bergen confirms recent research suggesting that higher education and social status of families may negatively impact children’s resilience. Researchers believe that this may be due to lower income families facing greater hardships during their lives and having built greater resilience over time. Other researchers suggest that families of lower social status tend to have higher divorce rates, so children have less expectation of stability.

While you may not be able to easily change your social status or education level, understanding these correlations can help you anticipate potential issues for your children. This may mean that helping your children understand the divorce and putting the hardship in perspective could help them face the change more smoothly.

Sibling relationships

The same study shows that children who maintain relationships with siblings through their parents’ divorce have greater resilience than those who do not. However, stepsiblings may have the opposite effect on resilience, particularly among girls.

Parents who know this can encourage friendships between their children while watching out for potential conflict or contention between stepsiblings.

Joint physical custody

Most significantly, the factor of joint custody is a strong influencer during divorce. According to the study, children living with joint custody after a divorce demonstrated resilience and performance at levels “not statistically significantly different from those living in a two-parent nuclear family.”

This means that seeking joint physical custody may mitigate many — if not all — of the harmful effects divorce has on children.