Some Devastating Effects of Divorce In The USA


During a marriage most couples promise a love that would last a long time. But in the case of America, one out of two marriages ends in the courtroom. This shocking US divorce statistics is a reality. There are many causes and reasons behind it and at times it is difficult to understand them. No matter, the impacts of it are both short termed and long termed. So, before you decide to terminate your marriage, you must be aware of the effects. Most people are not prepared of the changes that they need to face post-divorce life.

Effects on Children:

Statistics show that each year, over 1 million American children suffer the decision made by their parents to end a relationship. The whole process can be a devastating experience for the children as well as the parents involved. It has physical, emotional, and financial effects on children. Children’s reactions to decision of their  parents regarding dissolution of marriage depends on three factors the quality of their relationship with each of their parents before the separation, the intensity and duration of the parental conflict, and the parents’ ability to focus on the needs of children. Some of the broad impact of divorce on children are:

  • Children become the victims of abuse whose parents have terminated their marriage. Also they are prone to more health, behavioral, and emotional problems that ultimately lead to drug abuse and even suicide.
  • The academic performances of such children are poor. Statistics show that such children are more likely to drop out of school than children from one-time-married couples.
  • Children from broken homes are much more likely to have a difficult time obtaining and maintaining steady employment.
  • The children of parents who have ended their marriage are more likely to become “teen parents,” producing out-of-wedlock babies, than the children of life-long married parents.
  • Such children are three times more likely to have emotional or behavioral problems than they will have if their biological parents stay together.
  • When parents end their marriage, there is dramatic change in children’s attitude towards sexual behavior. Children’s approval of premarital sex and cohabitation and divorce rises dramatically, while their endorsement of marriage and childbearing is reduced.
  • Following a divorce, most mothers have to work full-time; this combination of divorced and full-time working mothers leads to the highest levels of sexual activity in teenage.
  • Children of divorced parents move away from their families of origin more than children of intact marriages.
  • To a large degree, the marital instability of one generation is passed on to the next. This lowered quality of marriage for children of divorced couples is a big matter of concern.
  • Divorce gives birth to higher levels of jealousy, moodiness, infidelity, conflicts over money, and excessive drinking and drug use amongst children.
  • Daughters of divorced parents find it more difficult to value their femininity or to believe that they are genuinely lovable.
  • Sons of divorced parents frequently demonstrate less confidence in their ability to relate with women, either at work or romantically.
  • Children in the age groups of 3-5 often face disturbance in sleeping pattern and become very attached to the parents for fear of separation.
  • Children in the age groups of 6-8 are more open about their grief to the departed parent and often have fantasies about their parents reuniting.
  • Children in the age groups of 8-11 feel a lot of anger and powerlessness, and tend to favor and care one parent over the other.
  • For children in the age groups of 12-18, the grief becomes more intense and they tend to focus more on the moral issues causing them to judge their parents and become more fearful for the relationships they will have in the future.
  • Such children also demonstrate an earlier loss of virginity, more cohabitation, higher expectations of divorce, higher divorce rates later in life, and less desire to have children.

Effects on parent child relationship:

  • The relationship between the child and separating parents often become less strong due to the emotions and negative feelings that come from the whole process.
  • It is hard for a parent to recognize that their child is struggling because they get so caught up in their own feelings.
  • At times child can even feel responsible to look after their parents and make sure that they are both mentally and physically okay.
  • If the parent does not make an effort to comfort the child, they often feel inadequate and abandoned.
  • The child can also become overwhelmed if one of the parents become involved with someone else.
  • The rate of bonding between step parents and step children is rather low. This is because there is less ‘parental feelings’ toward their stepchildren.

Effects on society:

Family is the building block of society, and marriage is the foundation of the family. However, this foundation is growing weaker, with fewer adults entering into marriage, more adults terminating ut. The higher divorce rate in US is having profound effects on society.

  • First, due to the trend of dissolution of marriage there is an increase in overall crime rate in the society. In a recent U.S. longitudinal study it has been found that children without biological fathers in the home are roughly three times more likely to commit a crime that leads to incarceration as compared to children from intact families.
  • Also children of divorced parents are significantly more likely to become delinquent by age 15 as compared to children living with their parents.
  • Often children of divorced parents do not marry and start families of their own, a phenomenon that can disturb social harmony.

Financial Effects:

It is impossible to ignore the fact that divorce itself can be a financial hurdle. When you file a petition in the court you need to pay a lot of money. It is difficult to predict how much it will cost, but it ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 depending upon the state where you reside and the complexity of your case. At the end, many families usually suffer financially.

  • For families that were not poor before the divorce, the drop in income can be as much as 50 percent.
  • As the source of income becomes half and expenses are increasing, there is always a decline in the standard of living that a couple enjoyed while married.
  • A drop in parents’ income directly affects children over time in terms of proper nutrition, involvement in extracurricular activities, clothing, and school choices.
  • Sometimes a parent who had stayed home with the children is forced into the workplace and the children need to spend time in child care.
  • Even with the payment of child support to the custodial parent, it causes a severe reduction in household income.
  • As assets are divided in a divorce, it means assets acquired during the marriage by either spouse will generally be divided equally.

Other Important Facts:

  • The overall effects differ by situation and personal circumstance and may be different for men and women.
  • Life expectancies for men and women who have ended their marriage are significantly lower than for married people.
  • Divorced men and women are more likely to suffer from health complications of some kind. This is mainly due to the emotional trauma of the whole legal process and its long term impact on the physical health.
  • Men and women both suffer a decline in mental health following the legal order. This is why there are more cases of depression and hostility amongst divorced men and women.
  • Alcoholism is much more likely to be a problem among those who have been divorced than those who have not.
  • The suicide rate is almost three times higher among the divorced than among life-long spouses.
  • Divorced people are more likely to have problems with depression and other mental problems.
  • When divorce takes place, this often leads to disruption in religious practices. The diminished practice of religion, in turn, can have negative consequences.
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Looking at the various impacts of divorce, it becomes essential for the US Government to establish a goal to reduce the rate. This can be done by establishing pro-marriage education and mentoring programs to teach couples how to develop skills to handle conflict and enhance the marital relationship. Also experts believe that by ending “no-fault” provision for parents with children under age 18; can make a drastic change in the overall divorce rate in the USA. Also innovative programs and classes should be organized by the States to promote the idea that marriage is the best environment in which to raise healthy, happy children who can achieve their potential and that the family is the most important institution for social well-being.

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To conclude, the decision to end a relationship can be traumatic, chaotic, and filled with contradictory emotions. So, before you make the final decision regarding divorce always try to analyze the whole situation and then only take a step.


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