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3 Major Ways Divorce Can Affect Your Child

 Posted on April 16,2024 in Children of divorce

Kane County, IL divorce lawyerThere is a common saying that children lose the most in a divorce. Research has found that regardless of how quickly parents adjust to the divorce and move on, children sometimes do not. Instead, the impacts of the divorce can stretch well into a child’s adult years.

When choosing a divorce attorney, seek one who is compassionate and understands the effect of divorce on children. He or she can advise you on how to best protect your child.

While there are several ways divorce affects children, this article will discuss three main impacts divorce can have on a child.

The Child May Act Out

Children whose parents divorce experience a broad range of negative emotions, such as sadness, confusion, and anger. This can cause them to lash out and engage in risky behaviors. Research shows that children of divorced parents are more likely to:

  • Commit crimes

  • Take up smoking

  • Engage in early sexual activity

  • Abuse drugs and/or alcohol

  • Commit suicide or experience suicide ideation

  • Develop a psychiatric disorder

While some evidence suggests that children aged 11-15 are the most vulnerable to divorce, even adult children can be severely affected.

The Child May Withdraw

In addition to acting out, children whose parents get divorced may also withdraw from healthy behaviors such as interacting with friends and family. They may participate less in class or may skip school altogether. Children in single-parent homes are twice as likely as their counterparts to have at least 11 absences in a school year. They are also more likely to drop out of high school.

Furthermore, a child whose parents are divorced is more likely to abandon his or her faith.

The Child’s Relationships May Suffer

Even children who do not engage in the above behaviors are likely to still suffer the effects of divorce down the line. Children of divorced parents are less likely to see marriage as permanent or even as a lifelong commitment. 

Research also suggests that a child’s biology may be affected by divorce. A study from Baylor University found that adults from divorced parents produce on average one-third the amount of oxytocin produced by adults with married parents. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps develop feelings of closeness and processes social information.

Contact a Kendall County, IL Divorce Attorney

The above explains why some parents who want to get divorced choose to remain married despite their differences. Ending a marriage can affect the children in far greater measure than the spouses. However, there are ways to get divorced that do not necessarily impact children as strongly; for example, mediation and collaborative divorce can be very helpful for reducing conflict and getting children the support they need. Legal separation may even be a helpful option for some couples. 

Consult with a St. Charles, Illinois divorce lawyer who can provide you with child-centric advice. Matthew Williams is a skilled family lawyer who also has experience with troubled youth. Call the The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. at 630-409-8184 for a consultation today.

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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