Many couples in unhappy marriages decide to stick it out until their kids reach a more mature age. Parents often come to this decision because they feel it would be better for the children to have two parents around. What tends to happen with couples like this is that they immediately get divorced once their kids go away for college or move out on their own.
However, if you are in an unhappy marriage, know that there is no ideal time to let your spouse and family know that you are thinking about divorce. In this blog, we explain how children of different ages are affected by divorce.
If you have an infant but want to leave your spouse, it is important to remember that this time period is crucial for your child’s development. If you do decide to seek divorce, make sure you work with your spouse to come up with a parenting schedule that will allow the infant to build a healthy relationship with both of their parents.
As toddlers grow, they need to have a consistent parental figure in their life to make them feel safe and loved. When toddlers are forced to go without contact from one of their parents for long periods of time, they can end up favoring the parent who is most present in their life. Although toddlers don’t understand the complicated issues that their parents are dealing with, you should still give them a short, but clear, explanation about why you are getting divorced.
Children in elementary school and middle school are much more aware of their parent’s problems than infants and toddlers. Because of this, children old enough to attend school need to know how divorce will change important aspects of their lives. It’s important to note that divorce can make young children feel like they have no control over their lives, which is why it is important to ask for their input on matters that are important to them.
During their teenage years, children are most concerned about developing their own identity. Divorce also means that teenagers must take on additional responsibilities they may not be used to. Just like with school-age children, you need to speak to your teenager about how their life will change after divorce and get their input on things like visitation schedules and where they would prefer to go to school.
Are you thinking about getting divorced? If so, we can help guide you through the process. Call (804) 250-3729, or contact our Richmond divorce lawyers to set up your free case consultation.