The effects that divorce can have on children have been well documented, and parents in New York and around the country sometimes choose to stay in unhappy marriages because they wish to keep their families intact. Experts say that staying together for the sake of the children often does more harm than good, but it may make sense in certain situations. Important factors to consider when weighing this decision include the ages of the children involved and the nature of the issues their parents are facing.
Parents sometimes remain together because they have heard that children from divorced homes are less likely to attend college and more likely to divorce themselves, but they may also put off ending their marriages for practical reasons. Maintaining health insurance coverage or avoiding the financial consequences of a divorce can be powerful motivators for spouses who lack resources or suffer from chronic medical conditions, but experts warn that remaining together in such situations can cause children emotional harm if parents fail to address the underlying causes of their matrimonial strife.
Divorce may make sense for parents when they accept that their relationships are beyond repair and home environments are becoming increasingly acrimonious and tense. Putting on a brave face to fool children into believing that everything is fine rarely works for long, and even very young children can pick up nonverbal cues and barely concealed animosity.
Children thrive in happy environments, and even divorcing parents who agree on very little will usually put in the effort required to make co-parenting arrangements work. Attorneys with experience in this area may seek to avoid bitter family law disputes by discussing issues that divorcing parents are likely to agree on, such as child custody and visitation, before moving on to thornier and more contentious matters like spousal support and asset division.