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Does divorce harm your children?

One of the biggest things parents worry about when considering divorce is whether or not it is going to harm their kids. In some cases, parents in an unhappy or even abusive marriage stay together specifically because they don't want to risk it.

But is there any basis for this decision? Does a divorce actually harm your kids in some irreparable way?

Many divorce experts have called this a common myth. They don't deny that the whole situation can be hard and/or stressful, but they do not think that it does harm. It's worse, they say, if you and your spouse are constantly fighting and forcing the kids to live in that type of environment.

"Think about it," one expert said. "Who likes to be around conflict all the time? Tension is contagious and kids in particular don't have the tools or defenses to handle angry exchanges from their parents. There is a great deal of research indicating that what children need more than anything is a stable and peaceful environment. That may be with parents living together, but it can also occur when parents are living apart."

That does not mean that both parents shouldn't stay involved with the kids. That's the goal of shared custody. However, you should not assume that a home with two parents living together is automatically the best option. If you're happier and more peaceful living apart, that can help the children.

As you and your spouse consider a divorce, it is important to think about the kids and what legal steps you can take to create the best possible outcome for them.

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