Should I Stay Married for the Kids?
It’s no secret that divorce takes a heavy toll on children and grownups alike. From navigating child custody disputes to determining child support, divorce can feel like the point of no return for parents. While it’s important to avoid making such decisions lightly, this doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time to consider your available options.
In any case, the benefits of staying together "for the kids" largely depend on each family's unique circumstances. If you're on the fence about divorce or concerned about your child's well-being, it's essential to work through your options to make a fully informed decision.
Regardless of whether you decide to stay in your marriage or file for divorce, your choice will have inevitable consequences in the lives of you and your child. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of staying together for your children’s sake.
Staying Together for Children: Harmful or Helpful?
Deciding whether or not to get divorced can be a challenging choice to make. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to ending a marriage, as the appropriate solution varies drastically depending on the family’s unique circumstances.
While it can be disheartening to learn there is no “correct” answer for these tough decisions, there are healthy ways to determine the best path forward for your family. Below are some helpful tips to help couples make informed decisions for their family's future.
3 Questions to Ask Before Staying Married for Kids
When considering a divorce, it can be difficult for parents to work through their own emotions and feelings, let alone make clearheaded decisions for their child's well-being. To better understand and process your options, it's critical to take adequate time to reflect and weigh your choices.
Before you decide to end your marriage or stay together for the kids’ sake, consider asking yourself the following questions:
1. If I end my marriage, am I willing and able to support my child?
Many parents underestimate the high demand that comes with divorce. Caring for your own mental and emotional well-being is a must if you wish to support your child. It’s okay to accept that you wouldn’t be in a good position to meet your child’s physical and emotional needs should you end the marriage.
For example, if getting divorced results in you working longer hours, earning less income, or being less available to your child physically or emotionally, you should reevaluate if getting divorced is in their best interests.
On the other hand, if you have a strong support system in place to support your needs—such as a good therapist, financial security, and the means to afford childcare—you may be in a good position to support and help your child transition, especially if the marriage has threatened your child's health or well-being.
2. Am I proud of the example I’m setting for my child?
There are countless reasons why couples may decide to end a marriage. Some circumstances are extreme, such as getting divorced because of domestic violence, infidelity, or substance abuse. Other cases may involve less urgent motivations, such as personality differences or foundational incompatibilities in the partnership.
Regardless of the reason, it’s important for parents to reflect on the example they want to set for their kids. What are you demonstrating to your child by staying or leaving your marriage?
If you stay, are you exemplifying values like unconditional love, forgiveness, and commitment? Or are you settling in a toxic partnership at the expense of your health and happiness? What does this choice teach your child about the world? How will your decision impact your child’s developing perspective of romance and relationships?
3. Are my children the only reason I’m considering staying in the marriage?
While it can be noble and selfless for parents to prioritize their children above all else, no one deserves to be unhappy. A vital factor to keep in mind is how your personal happiness can affect your child's happiness. One factor to keep in mind is how your personal happiness affects your child's happiness. In many cases, children can pick up on their parents’ unhappiness, resulting in negative feelings like anxiety and fear.
Even though getting divorced will inevitably result in various hardships and challenges for you and your child, the temporary discomfort may be worth it if the other alternative is staying in a miserable or unfulfilling relationship. If your child is the sole reason you’re considering staying in the marriage, it might be time to file for divorce.
Contact a Somerset County Divorce Lawyer
DeTommaso Law Group, LLC is proud to offer experienced representation to New Jersey couples and families preparing for divorce, custody disputes, and other family matters. Don’t wait to seek trusted representation for your upcoming family law proceedings. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of New Jersey law to guide your steps with wisdom and care in Somerset County, advocating for the favorable outcome you and your loved ones deserve. Our firm is here to help you move forward and start a new chapter.
If you’re preparing for a New Jersey divorce, our knowledgeable attorneys are here to protect your rights. Call (908) 274-3028 to schedule a consultation.