Should you really stay together for the kids? The short and long term effects of divorce compared to staying together in conflict have been hotly contested over time. Previous research indicated that children of divorce are more prone to divorce themselves, but modern day data and analytical issues have brought those ideas into question.
An article entitled “Conflict or Divorce? Does Parental Conflict and/or Divorce Increase the Likelihood of Adult Children’s Cohabiting and Marital Dissolution?” by Constance T. Gager, Scott T. Yabiku and Miriam R. Linver extended research on how parental conflict and divorce affects the children’s likelihood of divorce as adults by looking at the probability of a cohabiting dissolution.
The most solidified finding in the study is that children of divorce are, in fact, more prone to divorce themselves as adults. The study took comparative data of individuals in the United Nations for 13 eastern and western European countries, as well as Canada and the United States. From those countries, the study found a highly statistically significant, and substantial, link between adults who have divorced and their parents divorcing when they were children. The study surmised that the data was “clearly showing that this intergenerational transmission is a widespread and continuing phenomenon.”
However, one question that is left unanswered is how parental conflict before divorce plays a role in affecting children after a divorce and into their adulthood. Most research has been conducted on the subject compares children who experienced divorce to those who remained in an intact family. Because of this sample bias, the links between the subjects can only truly be regarded as casual.
The study went on to discuss whether children that have been raised in family structures that boast a successful and positive marriage at its core had better adult relationships, and if growing up in a family that was filled with conflict led to similar issues in their own adult relationships.
A social learning theory suggests children with parents that had more successful conflict resolution skills and displayed mutual respect and support had more successful and nurturing relationships in their adulthood. The theory also suggests that those who are raised in homes with poor communication skills and regular conflict are also more poised to have the same types of relationships in their adulthood. The life course perspective incorporates the building blocks of this theory, but expands to include that major life events can also influence how a child will relate to others and create relationships in their adulthood. This perspective emphasizes that though childhood is certainly a major influence on how individuals perceive the world, childhood orientations are fluid. This perspective says major life transitions, events, or other social institutions can have as great an effect on how children conduct themselves in relationships and life overall as adults.
Although these are all perspectives, something can be learned from these studies. Children are best positioned for a successful adult life when they are exposed to a well-balanced home structure that displays emotional support and mutual respect. From this, those considering divorce should examine whether a divorce would heighten the amount of conflict resolution and good communication skills displayed in front of children, or if it would be better for the child to work on those skills while remaining in the marriage. There is currently little information on these same issues in same-sex marriage or same-sex divorce in New Jersey.
When considering divorce, your child should be at the forefront of your mind. At the Law Offices of Kisha M. Hebbon, LLC, we find legal solutions that are meant to benefit the entire family while keeping the rights of our client in mind. Call 732-873-6464 or contact us online today to discuss your case with an experienced Somerset divorce lawyer in New Jersey.
We represent clients throughout New Jersey including Somerset County, Middlesex County, Union County and including but not limited to the towns of Somerset, Franklin, Bridgewater, New Brunswick, East Brunswick, Plainfield, Edison, Metuchen, Woodbridge, Piscataway, Old Bridge, Rahway, Linden, Elizabeth, Cranford, Summit, Union, Clark, Elizabeth, Berkeley Heights, and Scotch Plains.