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This is Todd Burnham, the Founding Partner of Burnham Law, and an experienced family law lawyer with a superb record. This blog talks about the benefits of a divorce.
Can divorce be good for children? Family Court lawyers think about this a lot. Your divorce is a deeply personal issue, and it is a decision that you need to make yourself. You can’t rely on an outside person’s opinion, especially if you have children.
For many people, divorce is the last option, and by the time that option is reached, the environment in which the child is living becomes toxic.
Certain situations are clearly toxic: an abusive parent is an example; drug or alcohol abuse is another. In these cases, it’s common sense that divorce would be beneficial for the child as they can be removed from their abuser.
Divorce can be good for children, provided that the parenting plan addresses the issues that the child is having related to parenting and family.
Even aside from blatant abuse, a toxic environment can be created for children if their parents are always fighting.
Sometimes parties don’t get along and the child is going to see that, and then that becomes their norm. That sucks. If all the child sees is conflict, then they will internalize that and believe that is what healthy relationships look like. Then their relationships will have the same conflict that they learned while growing up.
If then a divorce happens and the parties see different relationships, they can see better role models. Mom ends up being happy; dad ends up being happy; both parties can demonstrate positive relationships with their child and be better parents. That is a great end case for a divorce.
If you are in a high conflict situation, and the conflict is happening in front of the child, then absolutely, divorce is excellent for the development of the child.
To reiterate, divorce will be right for the child when it removes the child from a toxic environment. An environment where the child is regularly viewing negative role models. An environment where the child is learning the wrong lessons about relationships. An environment where drugs or alcohol are a problem. An environment where the child is being abused. These are situations where divorce could improve a child’s environment.
If the child is in a positive environment with a happy home life though, divorce should be considered the last option.