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Staying together for the kids? What you need to consider

Making the decision to end a marriage can be extraordinarily difficult. Of course there are some instances when both spouses are ready and willing to go their separate ways, but for many couples, it is so much more complicated than that.

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For instance, if you have children with your spouse, it can seem scary or even cruel to break up the family. You may think that if you can just keep the marriage together until they go to college or leave the home, it will be easier for them - and you - to cope with or avoid divorce. However, there are some things you may want to consider before making this type of decision.

  • Ages of the children: Divorce impacts children very differently depending on their age. Young children may not necessarily comprehend changes that can come with divorce while older children may find it a little easier to understand their parents' decision.
  • Home environment: If you and your spouse fight all the time or don't like to be in the same room with each other, children can pick up on it. That creates a great deal of emotional stress to the children. The children's attempts to cope may lead to negative behavior issues for the children. A hostile or tension filled environment can significantly impact children. In some cases, children would prefer that their parents just get divorced.
  • Personal responsibility and goals: Parents can have a difficult time separating their needs from the needs of their children. However, this can prove to be counterproductive when parents assume that giving up their own happiness will benefit their children. Children should not have to bear the burden of carrying a broken relationship, as one dad discusses in this article. It is the parents' responsibility to fix their marital problems, not the children. The children's role is not to become the parents of their parents

Of course, the decision is ultimately up to you and your spouse. No two couples or families are the same and it is crucial to consider what is best for your particular situation.

Discussing your options with an attorney can be enormously helpful. Fear of the unknown can be a powerful motivator to avoid a serious decision, so having information can be quite beneficial. By talking about all your options including litigation, mediation and collaborative divorce and what you may be able to expect with an attorney should you pursue a divorce, you may be able to find it a little easier to make a difficult decision.

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