When couples get divorced, they often worry about how it will affect the children. But what if your kids are the ones contributing to the divorce?
Think it’s not possible? Think again. Think back to your marriage before you had kids. Was it happier? Did you and your spouse get along better back then?
More than likely, you answered “yes” to both questions. While you may love your children, it is a fact that kids can make a troubled marriage even worse. Those who think having a baby will strengthen their marriage do not know what they are in for.
Children are needy. They require a lot of time and attention, especially as babies and toddlers. It gets a little easier as they enter their elementary school years, but even as they get older, they cause a lot of stress in a marriage. The teen years are hard, with hormones, dating, driving, and college on the horizon.
While many parents consider children to be their biggest accomplishments, many do not feel that way. Having children can lead to unhappiness for new parents, especially women. In fact, many develop postpartum depression after giving birth. Women are expected to be the primary caregivers, with many having to leave the workforce to stay home with their children. Having to drop everything to deal with kids can, quite frankly, be a burden for many women. In fact, some parents will go as far as to admit that they regret having children.
Kids also put a strain on finances. Children are expensive to raise. Childcare in the United States can cost nearly $1,000 a month. On top of that, there are food, clothes, and other necessities to buy. The cost of raising a child, from birth to age 17, is now $233,610. That is a lot of money, especially for a one-income family.
Kids change marriages. They create drama. They can be manipulative. Many parents feed into it and allow their kids to rule the household. They allow their kids to be part of every routine and refuse to put up boundaries. This can lead to behavioral problems that can threaten the marriage.
Nevertheless, parents are focused on their children’s needs, which means they are not focused on each other. Without communication and intimacy, the relationship falls apart. Many marriages see this when the children leave the nest and go to college. The couple realizes they no longer have anything in common. They have drifted apart, and with nothing keeping them together anymore, many end the marriage. This is a big factor in gray divorces.
When Children Have Physical or Mental Issues
There have been situations when a child’s health can lead to marital issues and even divorce. When you have a child, you expect a healthy one. But let’s face it—not all children are born healthy. Between conception and childbirth, anything can happen. You do not know what your children will be like until they are born.
You could do all sorts of tests while pregnant and still end up with a child with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or even cancer. You may even have a child with a psychiatric disorder, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, or autism.
Any of these issues can cause challenges in a marriage, especially when one parent is not interested in dealing with the issues. In fact, parents of kids with ADHD are almost twice as likely to divorce by the time the child is 8 years old.
A child’s mental illness can put great strain on parents. This is especially true when children exhibit exhausting behaviors, such as defiance, aggression, tantrums, and meltdowns. These behaviors can cause alienation and make families feel isolated from others. Parents spend so much time dealing with their child that they have no time or energy for each other. Also, there are situations in which one parent (typically the mother) spends so much time trying to help the child, causing the other parent (often the father) to feel left out. This causes marital strife, which often leads to divorce.
A child’s death can also strain a marriage and lead to divorce. A chronic illness can lead to death, as can suicide. Approximately 16% of parents who lose a child will divorce.
Surprisingly, Down syndrome is one of the only health issues that does not tend to cause divorce. This is because Down syndrome kids are typically easier to raise than typical kids. Plus, more than 90% of fetuses that test positive for Down syndrome are aborted. So when parents decide to raise a Down syndrome child, they have agreed to do it together and know what they are getting into.
Being able to do things together is key. Spouses need to avoid passing judgment on each other. They need a connection. Without it, their marriage is at risk.
Seek Legal Help
While most resources will tell you not to blame your children for your divorce, what if they actually do contribute to it? It is possible. Kids are a lot of work. They can sometimes put too much of a strain on marriage, causing it to fail.
Parenting is difficult as a married couple. It is even more challenging when you are on your own. Considering divorce? Seek legal help from Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. We have more than 30 years of experience dealing with all kinds of divorce. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464.