THE TOP 3 FACTORS THAT PLACE CHILDREN OF DIVORCE AT RISK AND HOW TO MINIMIZE THEM
- High Conflict
A high conflict divorce process often leads to less emotional availability and less sensitivity towards their children by divorcing parents. The result for children of high conflict divorce processes can be emotional insecurity, acting out, depression, anxiety and a negative impact on the immune system.
These significant negative impacts may be minimized by selecting a less conflictual divorce process such as collaborative divorce, mediation or settlement negotiations and providing resources for children such as individual counseling and group counseling and co-parenting counseling for the parents. Co-parenting counseling during separation and divorce is one of the most valuable tools available to families in these circumstances. The National Family Resiliency Center (NFRC) is one of the best places to obtain a wide variety of high quality, family focused counseling services.
- A Poor Relationship With Either Parent
Minimizing, without justification, one parent’s involvement with a child often leads to a less stable and secure relationship between the child and that parent. Children who spend significant time with both of their parents report a greater sense of overall well-being, and parents report that they have better general health as well. There is a linear relationship between the number of overnights in each home during a child’s lifetime and the closeness of the relationships between the child and each parent.
Children spending significant time with both parents have higher GPA’s, perform better on cognitive assessments, and tend to form healthier relationships with peers (both platonic and romantic) throughout their lifetimes.
Parents who do not have significant time with their children more often suffer from depression and tend to pull back from their children’s lives. This often results, not surprisingly, in a poor relationship between the children and that parent.
- Financial Instability And Worry
The use of financial resources as a weapon in high conflict divorces is commonplace. The impact on children when one parent is financially insecure as the result of separation and divorce is significant.
It is important to the emotional and physical health of children for both of their parents’ households to be as financially secure as possible. Agreements, and positions taken during litigation regarding alimony, child support and the division of marital property should take into consideration the fact that the children will live in both of their parents’ homes. The negative impact of financial instability and worry in one household impacts the children 100% of the time.
These factors work cumulatively; the more factors present, the higher the risk to children over time. Please discuss the impact of a high conflict divorce with your family law attorney and mental health care professionals prior to commencing the separation and divorce process. Becoming knowledgeable about the many types of divorce processes available and the impact each of these processes may have on your family prior to separation and divorce can lead to a very significant and positive impact on the emotional and physical long-term health of your children.