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High-conflict marriages can be very hard on kids

When a marriage becomes high-conflict, it can deeply impact both spouses. However, this is certainly not where its potential ramifications end. A high-conflict marriage can also have vast effects on a married couple's children. 

Among the harms being in a situation where their parents are regularly in high conflict can possibly expose a child to are:

  • Their living environment turning emotionally toxic.
  • Them assuming they are responsible for their parents' fights.
  • Them feeling like they have to pick sides in their parents' fights.
  • Emotional harm from witnessing their parents being disrespectful towards each other.
  • Experiencing or witnessing abuse. High-conflict marriages can sometimes pose abuse risks. 
  • Not receiving proper parenting. In a high-conflict marriage, the parents may be devoting so much time and energy to the conflicts that they are not able to give adequate attention to parenting.   

One assumption some may have is that a parent divorce generally puts a child in a worse position than they were in while their parents were married. However, as this discussion on the potential effects of high-conflict marriages indicates, there are situations where the exact opposite can be true. A high-conflict marriage being brought to an end through a divorce could help take kids out of a very toxic situation. So, it is possible for a divorce of parents to, overall, be a good thing when it comes to the well-being of the parents' children.

Now, just as the specifics of a marriage can have impacts on a couple's kids, so too can the specifics of a divorce. There are all kinds of potentially disorientating changes a child can experience when their parents divorce. Some types of parent conduct during a divorce can increase the chances of a child being able to handle these changes well, while other types could make these changes harder and create significant emotional hardship for a child.

Thus, whatever their reason for their divorce, it is important for parents to exercise care when it comes to the actions they take during their divorce, particularly when it comes to child custody and other divorce issues that directly touch on the kids. Experienced divorce attorneys can advise parents on what approaches in a divorce can help with protecting their kids' well-being.

Source: Tyler Morning Telegraph, "In some circumstances, parents' divorce is best for kids," March 15, 2016

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