The latest statistics claim roughly 60% of marriages end in divorce. Second or third marriages have only about 20% of couples remaining happily married. A full eighty percent of repeat marriages end in divorce. Over one million children watch their parents divorce each year, and half of the babies born this year will suffer through the divorce of their parents before they turn 18. While divorce is often necessary, there is no denying rising divorce rates signal societal issues.
The Reasons for Divorce
There are many reasons couples seek divorce. While only a few are listed on official divorce documents, the list of personal reasons is endless and often there is not a single cause for the end of a marriage. One of the most popular reasons cited in a divorce is simply a no-fault “irreconcilable differences.”While different states might use different terminology, it just means that two people simply failed to get along.
Other reasons for divorce include physical, emotional or sexual abuse and infidelity. Many consider these to be two of the very few justifiable reasons for divorce. Dangerous relationships should be stopped immediately and if a partner refuses to stay faithful, the marriage is no longer the lasting commitment it was designed to be. In both of these cases, children are best removed from the offending parent, but the same cannot be said for other forms of divorce.
The Effects of Divorce
Most studies of divorce deal with the children under eighteen involved in the dissolving family. If a childless couple chooses to divorce, they directly impact only themselves. However there is an indirect impact of any divorce, and that is that a divorce for any reason is common and acceptable. While there is no doubt that all manners of divorce are indeed common, there is great debate over the acceptability of the dissolution.
When parents divorce, studies have long shown that children are the most affected. While many children grow up happy and healthy following a divorce, studies have shown that this not always the norm. According to research children of divorced parents:
o Are more often involved in abuse or neglect.
o Have more health, behavioral and emotional problems.
o Are more involved in crime and drug abuse
o Have more incidents of suicide.
o Perform poorly in reading, spelling and math.
o Are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out and be unsuccessful completing college degrees.
o Will likely earn less as adults than children of intact families.
o Lose their virginity at a younger age.
o Are less likely to have children of their own.
o Are more likely to divorce as adults.
o Are more likely to grow up in a level of poverty.
While there is no evidence that every child of divorce will be impacted severely in any way, it is impossible to define the exact impact of divorce on any child. As these millions of children grow to marry and start families of their own, the costs and suffering of their childhood impact their decisions and lives as adults.
Divorce affects all of society either directly or indirectly. Today there is little stigma associated with divorce. That is not to say divorce is overlooked completely. Women or men divorcing in dangerous and unfaithful relationships are often praised for leaving an unhealthy environment and protecting their children from its impact. Those electing a divorce because the simply dont get along anymore are not frowned upon, per se, but couples with children are often encouraged to find a solution for the marriage rather than obtaining a hasty divorce.
The long-term effects of more casual divorces are becoming more obvious, especially in regard to the children affected. While a divorce isn’t pretty and it can have lasting impacts, in some cases it is simply the best option. Only you can know if it is indeed the best solution for your current situation.