Short-Term Effects of Divorce on Children
Key Points
  • Children of low-conflict and divorce and high-conflict divorce experience much different short-term effects. A low-conflict divorce can deliver more of a shock or surprise because the parents have not showed many signs of unhappiness.
  • A child going through a divorce can lose his or her bearings because of experiencing many new feelings.
  • To help children through a divorce emotionally, parents must see the divorce from their child’s perspective.
To one degree or another, all children feel the short-term effects of divorce. In a low-conflict divorce, children may sense that their parents are not happy but not be particularly troubled by it, so when the parents announce their intention to part, the children lose their footing. Children often feel more burdened and less cared for. When parents cannot talk to each other during a divorce, their angry conflict adds great stress to the lives of small children, who, it must be remembered, love each parent by the entirety.

Parents must remember that a child’s world is a small one where his or her father and mother are pillars. When one disappears, a child loses his bearings, his sense of normality. Anger, sadness, depression, opposition, aggression, non-compliance, perceived parental loss, interpersonal conflict, economic hardship, life stress, less parental supervision, inconsistent discipline, more negative sanctions, lower school achievement, acting out, lower self esteem, social adjustment problems, and increased dependency - all may result during the days between separation and divorce. However, during the separation and after the divorce is final, positive steps by both parents can mitigate the intensity and reduce the duration of most adjustment problems.

Parents must try to see their divorce from the child’s point of view rather than their perspective, write Dr. Sean Brotherston and Brenda Jacobson of the North Dakota State University Extension Service. "In divorce, adults typically deal with logistical or external decisions and issues, while children often face uncertainty, internal feelings and changes that result from the divorce process." Adults concern themselves with the external issues of deciding where to live, schools for the children, managing the legal divorce, dividing the marital estate, paying the bills and providing "sufficient and much needed daily are to children"; children, in contrast, face "more internal issues," such as grieving about the physical absence of a parent, "coping with the stress of multiple changes at once," seeking control over the situation and "accepting reassurance that they are not at fault for the divorce."

Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
How to Win Child Custody How to Win Child Custody
This is not your basic child custody book like most you will find in a bookstore. This book is for people who are in the middle of a custody dispute or feel as though there is a possibility of one in the future. This is a resource for those parents who are fighting for their rights and/or custody of their children.

Download Now

Recent Related Blog Posts
    All Child Custody Blog Posts

Related Article Archives
Child Support
Counseling Issues
Custody & Visitation
Parental Alienation
Tax Aspects
    All Article Archives

Related Categories
Child Relocation
Collect & Paying Child Support
Divorce & Pets
Divorce Laws
Grandparent Rights
Parental Alienation
Parenting Through Divorce
Paternity Issues
    All Categories
Related Forums
Child Custody
Child Removal
Child Support
Domestic Abuse
Grandparent Rights
Helping Children
Stepfamily Issues
    All Forums

Resources & Tools

Bookstore Promotion Discount

Start Your Divorce Online Start Your Divorce
Several Options to Get Started Today.
Divorce Tools Online Divorce Tools
Keeping it Simple to Get the Job Done.
Divorce Downloads Download Center
Instantly Download Books, Guides & Forms.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Books
Over 100 of the Best Divorce & Custody Books.
Negotiate Online Negotiate Online
Settle your Divorce and Save.
Custody and Support Tracking Custody Scheduling
Make Sure You Document Everything.
PARENTING CLASSES -- In some jurisdictions, parenting classes for the parents of minors are now required as a preliminary to divorce. The classes teach parents how to minimize the negative effects of divorce on their children and serve to restate parental responsibilities in the context of divorce. They are not an eleventh-hour attempt at marriage counseling.
Start Divorce
Custody Scheduling and Tracking

Children In Between - Online Parenting Class

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:


Featured Book How to Win Child Custody

How to Win Child Custody

How to Win Child Custody


Featured Download Parent's Ability and Willingness to Cooperate: The Friendly Parent Doctrine, As a Most Important Factor in Recent Child Custody Cases

Parent's Ability and Willingness to Cooperate: The Friendly Parent Doctrine, As a Most Important Factor in Recent Child Custody Cases

Parent's Ability and Willingness to Cooperate: The Friendly Parent Doctrine, As a Most Important Factor in Recent Child Custody Cases

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site