While many parents wait until their kids go off to college to file for divorce, studies suggest this can have a devastating impact on teenaged children. Waiting for the kid’s sake, it turns out, is one of the most detrimental ways to deal with divorcing when children are concerned.
As a family law attorney in Queens, New York, our office almost always expects more calls around Labor Day, when the fall academic calendar at local NYC colleges begins and parents who have waited until their children “left the nest” to do so begin the process of filing for divorce. While deciding on the right time to get a divorce with children is never easy, it turns out that waiting may be one of the most detrimental to your kids’ emotional wellbeing.
The Myth of Waiting for the Kids’ Sake
Managing divorce with children can be tricky, but ultimately, parents aren’t looking to hurt their children when they get divorced; rather, they’re attempting to provide a stable home environment built around trust and communication.
Parents who decide to wait until their children go off to college often do so to protect them from the pains of separation and change that come with divorce, but waiting through an unhappy marriage often puts children in the middle of conflicts and tensions at home, which can be far more harmful to their overall mental health.
Further, freshmen college students who are just leaving home for the first time rely on at-home stability more in their first year of college than they do throughout most of their early teenage years. While establishing their footing in the adult world, they look back to their parents for a stable safety net that let’s them know they’re going to be okay in life and they have a home to return to if everything goes wrong.
College counselors report an increased number of students seeking guidance because their parents are getting divorced during their first semester. Because they’re already dealing with the increased worries and stresses of adulthood, adding on the worry and stress of managing their parents’ divorce can be overwhelming for new college students.
Knowing When the Time Is Right for Divorce
Properly handling a divorce while children are young and adaptable is perhaps better than waiting until children grow up and leave home to get a divorce; managing to provide one (or two) stable homes is far more beneficial to a child’s wellbeing than living in the constant stress of one unhappy, shared home.
However, that isn’t to say that deciding to get divorced while children are young will be an easy decision — it never is — but when a couple determines that their marriage isn’t salvageable, then the benefits of divorcing far outweigh the drawbacks, especially. Pushing through and living in an unhappy home will only serve to amplify the effect it has on the children who grew up there.
Ultimately, it comes down to deciding how you will handle the transition in a way that provides the most benefit to your children. If you are looking for an experienced divorce attorney in Queens to discuss your decision to file for divorce and its impacts on your family, contact the Law Offices of Bruce Feinstein, Esq. today for a Free Consultation.