Though no one should presume to understand the circumstances which lead to the decision to divorce, or indeed discount a couples reasoning for divorce, it is worth understanding and considering the statistical evidence which demonstrates the damage divorce can do to a family and child. It is up to a separating couple to identify when and where they can lessen the impact of divorce upon their children, and these statistics may go some way to helping them to identify those areas where children are most vulnerable.
Firstly, an unpleasant truth about marriage in the USA: Half of all marriages are expected to fail before a child reaches 18 (Fagan, Fitzgerald, Rector, The Effects of Divorce On America), and nearly one in four children will see their parents’ divorce twice before adulthood (Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, and Zill, Life Course).
Now we will take a look at a statistical representation of the various emotional impacts of divorce.
American teenagers in single parent families and in blended families are three times more likely to need psychological help within a given year. (Peter Hill, Recent Advances in Selected Aspects of Adolescent Development, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1993)
Unfortunately, when compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have statistically more psychological problems. (Robert E. Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children’s Adjustment, Sage Publications, 1988).
Children in divorced families have a greater risk of injury, asthma, headaches and speech defects than those from an un-separated family. (Dawson, Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well Being, National Health Interview Survey on Child Health, Journal of Marriage and the Family)
Sadly, following divorce, children are fifty percent more likely to develop health problems than two parent families. (Angel, Worobey, Single Motherhood and Children’s Health)
In regards to parenting statistics:
79.6% of custodial mothers receive a support award
29.9% of custodial fathers receive a support award.
46.9% of non-custodial mothers totally default on support.
26.9% of non-custodial fathers totally default on support.
[Technical Analysis Paper No. 42 – U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services – Office of Income Security Policy]
But what do all these statistics add up to?
Children from fatherless homes are:
4.6 times more likely to commit suicide,
6.6 times to become teenage mothers,
24.3 times more likely to run away,
15.3 times more likely to have behavioural disorders,
6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions,
10.8 times more likely to commit rape,
6.6 times more likely to drop out of school,
15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenager
(“Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children”, by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D. Backgrounder #1535.)
These disturbing statistics go some way to highlighting the severe impact a poorly handled divorce and resulting separation can have on children.
The best way to handle a divorce effectively with limited lasting impact on yourself and your children, is to hire a family law specialist who will help to guide your family effectively through this difficult time that won’t have a lasting effect on you or your family.
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