Effects of Divorce

Effects of Divorce

Divorce Affects Everyone

Understanding the effects of divorce can help you cope with the aftermath of even the most amicable of divorces. It cannot be denied that terminating your marriage will have significant consequences for you and your spouse. However, you should also be mindful of the consequences your divorce will have on your children, family, and the community you call home.

How Divorce May Affect You Emotionally

Each divorce is unique. Nevertheless, there are some common emotions that people feel when dealing with the end of their marriage and the breakdown of the traditional family unit.

You may experience the following throughout the divorce process:

  • Vague feelings of discontentment, arguments, lack of trust, denial, anxiety, anger, and grief
  • More specific expressions of dissatisfaction or the desire to seek counseling
  • Emotional distance and disparaging of the other spouse
  • Physical separation and choosing loyal friends and family over the spouse
  • Acceptance and regaining a sense of power and control
  • Optimism for new beginnings and a fresh start

Children Need to Cope

Your children will also learn to cope with the divorce and the end to the family unit as they knew it. It is often difficult because parents focus on the legalities, like support and visitation, before creating a plan to focus on the emotional impact the divorce will have on the children. Divorce can cause the following effects on children:

  • Destructive ways of handling conflict within the family
  • Diminished ability to socialize comfortably with peers
  • Troubled friendships with the opposite sex
  • Troubles with romantic relationships
  • Increases in teenage sexual activity
  • Increases in the number of sexual partners during adolescence
  • Increases in the number of out-of-wedlock childbirths
  • Increases in dangerous sexual activity, such as unprotected sex
  • Higher rated of divorce for the children of divorced parents

The Effect On All Of Us

Divorce also has a tremendous impact on society as a whole. For families that are not poor before a divorce, the end of the traditional family unit can lead to a decrease in income as high as 50 percent. Even though the custodial parent's household expenses after a divorce may decrease because there will be fewer mouths to feed, the income loss from the ex-spouse often has devastating effects. Some 40 percent of families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or living on welfare are divorced or single-parent households.

The Ugliest Effects of Divorce

The ugliest fact about divorce is that serious physical and sexual abuse is much higher among stepchildren than among children with married parents. Often times, adults who were sexually abused as children were also raised in families where the parents were divorced.

For More Help

  • Parents Without Partners (PWP), 401 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 (312/644-6610)
  • National Organization of Single Mothers, P.O. Box 68, Midland, NC 28107 (704/888-5437)
  • National Fatherhood Initiative, 680 Eden Road, Building E, Lancaster, PA 17601 (800/790-3237)
  • National Congress for Men and Children (NCMC), P.O. Box 171675, Kansas City, KS 66117 (800/733-3237)
  • The Stepfamily Foundation, 333 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023 (212/877-3244)
  • The Stepfamily Association of America, 215 Centennial Mail South, Suite 212, Lincoln, NE 68508, (800/735-0329)
  • Single Parent Resource Center, 141 West 28th Street, New York, NY 10001 (212/947-0221)
Effects of Divorce