Deciding whether to stay together or get divorced is an incredibly hard choice. Add kids into the mix and the issue gets even harder. There are couples all over Michigan who do choose to stay together for the benefit of their children, though their marriages are unhappy. The reason behind this choice is because they believe they’re choosing what’s best for their children. But is it really the best choice?
Studies are clear on what kind of home is best for a child. Children raised in stable, loving, two parent homes invariably suffer less depression, anxiety and rebellious behavior. They also tend to get better grades, and have a greater capacity for intimate relationships with others. So is it always better to stay together? The question is a very valid one, because a key part of this equation is the “stable, loving, two parent” portion. What happens if the two parents are not stable and loving?
Studies show that children raised in two parent homes where there is constant conflict are actually more likely to struggle with stress and defiant behavior and have issues with discipline, than children raised in stable and loving single parent homes. So if the studies are correct, and children do better when their parents get divorced rather than stay in a relationship which is full of anger, arguing and instability, is divorce really the best answer?
The truth is, there is no “correct” answer to that question, and no easy choice. Divorce is always difficult, no matter what the circumstances. So before making that decision, there are a few things you should consider.
Analyze The Conflict.
Ask yourself what is the reason you are considering divorce. All relationships go through ups and downs, and so it’s perfectly normal for a marriage to have periods of difficulty and doubt. Ask yourself whether the issues you and your spouse are facing stem from something current in your marriage that could be resolved in time, or is it an ongoing problem for which you see no resolution.
Can “Third Party Mediation” Help?
If you and your spouse are willing to invest time in trying to save your relationship but don’t know how to go about it, there are many avenues available to you including counseling, books and retreats. Many relationships can be saved from the brink of disaster as long as both parties haven’t lost hope or interest.
Review the Pros and Cons.
There will be benefits to staying together, and benefits to getting divorced. The same goes for cons – there will be down sides to both options. It’s very important that you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each option carefully before making your choice. Divorce is a life-altering decision which shouldn’t be made impulsively. In Michigan, the divorce process is lengthy, complex and often expensive. If you are trying to let good parenting be your motivator, be sure to consider the impact on your children at every step.
Understand the Impact.
If you stay together, are you both equally committed to making your home a safe place for your children to grow and thrive? If not, would a divorce be better for your kids, or harder? Divorce is
hard on spouses and even harder on the children. Sometimes it’s the right answer, and sometimes it’s not. Only you and your spouse can make that choice. But when deciding, always keep in mind your children and their futures.
Aim for Long-Term Goals
Your children will be affected by the process and outcome of your decisions, whatever that may be. So it’s always better to weigh your options carefully before committing to major life changes. Consider all the members of your family when choosing if and how to proceed, and think about the ways they will be affected, and what their futures may look like as a result. Decisions made out of a desire to better everyone’s lives, as opposed to decisions made in anger or spite, will have far better results for everyone involved.
If you have questions or concerns about the divorce process, or want to better understand what you may be in for, come in and talk to one of our experienced family law attorneys. We have helped hundreds of family in mid-Michigan navigate their divorces, and we can help you too.