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Is a bad marriage worse for children than a "good" divorce?

Everyone who's in a troubled marriage has repeated the phrase like a mantra: "we've got to stay together for the children." The idea is that keeping the pieces of the marriage together will provide children with the level of stability they need to stay emotionally healthy. Unfortunately, this stance doesn't give children much credit. They are far more attuned to their parents' emotional states then we often realize. We tend to think we're fooling them, but they are picking up on the stress and animosity and absorbing it.

So, is it better to get a divorce? Every situation is different, but here are some of the ways children can benefit from a divorce:

  • Everyone is calmer. Sharing time between emotionally stable parents is better than the unbearable tension when everyone is under one roof.
  • You and your ex spouse may be happier. Finally cutting ties and living life the way you want can make you happier, which will have a ripple effect on your parenting.
  • You and your ex can show that compromise works. Your children will see you working together to solve issues and that's an invaluable lesson.

There's no question that the process of divorce and the few months that follow are not easy for you or your children. There will be stress. There will be conflict. But if you're playing the long game, as most parents are, it may be in your children's best interests to stop the constant conflict.

If that's the route you choose, an attorney may be able to help you get through the process as painlessly as possible and make sure you find a arrangement of parenting time that suits you and your children best.

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