If the past year has been one of growing conflict and change in your marriage, you may be wondering if the coming year is the one in which you will decide to divorce. Perhaps it is a topic you and your spouse have broached in the past but set aside for the sake of the children. Now that you are revisiting the idea of ending your marriage, you must still consider what is best for the kids.
Chances are that your decision about what to do fluctuates from day to day, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to marriage and divorce. However, there are some important factors to consider as you contemplate your options.
What is really best for the children?
Ideally, you and your spouse could work out the issues that create problems between you. However, if it were that simple, you would likely have done this years ago. You may instead be able to maintain a civil façade that allows you to keep your family together. The benefits include sharing meals and important occasions and sparing the children the burden of shuffling between homes and dividing holidays.
Some parenting experts say this is good for the children, but it means remaining in an unfulfilling marriage. The risks of this include the following:
- You may begin to neglect your own health.
- Your distraction with the marital issues may lead to neglect of the children's needs.
- You and your spouse may begin using the children as pawns against each other.
- You may not be as good at hiding your frustration, resentment and unhappiness as you think you are.
Children are intuitive and can sense when things are not well between their parents. Making a poor attempt to hide your marital unhappiness from them may cause them to draw their own conclusions about why the home is full of tension, including blaming themselves.
Making a wise decision
Perhaps your first step may be to evaluate the level of stress that exists in the family currently. Can you and your spouse sincerely work together until the children are grown? Is the rift beyond repair, or is there a chance you could eventually work things out? If there is a possibility of fixing the problems, staying together may be in everyone's best interests. However, if there is abuse, addiction, infidelity or other serious stressors, you and your spouse may be better off going your separate ways.
In addition to the many personal and emotional needs to consider, you will also have legal and financial concerns as you weigh whether divorce is right for your family. Seeking advice and answers from a Virginia attorney may help you make a prudent decision.