According to the U.S. Census, the rate of marriage and divorce in the U.S. in 2019 has dropped over the last 10 years. From 17.6 in 2009, it decreased to 16.3 new marriages for every 1,000 women who are 15 years old and above. Meanwhile, the divorce rate went from 9.7 in 2009 to 7.6 new divorces for every 1,000 women aged 15 years old and above.
Cases of divorce have dropped, yes. But, couples still experienced many issues during the pandemic. Financial difficulties and loss of jobs are among the top reasons for couple clashes. Couples had to juggle remote work, household chores, and the online distance learning of their kids. These caused stress and tension. Add it to the anxiety of the pandemic situation. Many couples, indeed, struggled over the last one and half years.
Unfortunately, some even led to breakups. Some are even planning for divorce. And while it might be unavoidable, it is the children that are most affected.
How should parents go about divorce while putting their children in their priorities? How can parents separate peacefully while damaging control over the well-being of their kids? And how can couples settle with co-parenting, custody, and properties as they part ways?
Kids are hit the hardest
Separation among families is becoming common. According to a study, it is estimated that when they reach the age of 9 years old, more than 20% of American kids will have gone through the separation of their parents. This is based on 2017 records, where 52% of solo parents were once married couples who just broke up.
Parents’ separation, indeed, creates a negative impact on the children left behind. Having to witness the marriage of their parents falling apart before their very eyes is painful enough. The burden of having to choose who lives with whom is even more painful. Growing old without the other parent also affects the kids’ behavior and beliefs as they go through life. They suffer from trauma, stress, and anxiety.
Aside from the emotional struggles, solo parents also tend to experience financial difficulties. Those who do not get to co-parent their kids have to raise the family alone. Because of this, these children are deprived of their material needs and the love and care of their parents.
Surprisingly, though, 82% of 14 to 22-year-old children whose parents got divorced said that they’d rather see their parents separate if they are already unhappy. This is according to a survey conducted by a family law organization called Resolution. They prefer it this way because they believe that it is for the best. What’s sad is that more than 60% of respondents said they were not involved in the discussion and decision of their parent’s separation. The majority of them felt bad that they had to choose between their parents.
This is why parents need to plan how to go about their decision to separate. Here are some tips for couples who are on the brink of separation:
· Seek professional and legal advice.
Consult lawyers whose expertise is family law. They will be able to guide you on how to craft your parenting plan. This is so that you get a written agreement on the parenting arrangements for your kids. They will also draft your consent orders for your children. Always do things the legal way, so everything is on paper. It is always best to have written agreements. Things can go wrong between you and your former spouse, and you wouldn’t want to lose access to your children.
· Seek advice from family counselors.
Legal advice is one thing. Family advice is another. Counselors are there to help your family go through the process of breakup. Things might be hard for the whole family, and some professional experts can help understand why things had to happen. Counseling sessions will be beneficial for the kids who might suffer from the trauma. It might not solve the problem, but it will help the family heal.
· Seek financial experts.
You will also need the help of a financial expert to guide you with how to go about your money matters. Since you will be a single parent, your priorities will change, including your budget and expenses. The financial expert will help you realign your financial stability as you go through the separation.
It is always difficult when families break up. But, there are ways on how to ease the burden. There are means how to control the damage emotionally and financially. There is always a harmonious way to co-exist and share responsibilities even if couples decide to break up. This is, at least, for the sake of their kids.