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Handling child custody appropriately benefits children

When a Colorado family is preparing to divorce, the most pressing priority is usually how the change in family structure will impact their children. It is impossible to deny that divorce can be disruptive in the life of a child, but recent research suggests that the manner in which parents handle divorce and child custody matters is more important than the fact of the divorce itself. These findings underscore the importance of working together to reach a settlement with which everyone can live.

One study found that in families with high level of tension, children often preferred that their parents divorce rather than continue living in the same home. It may be that even with all the challenges associated with living in a single-parent household, that outcome is preferable to being exposed to chronic fighting and ill temper between parents. Once a separation or divorce has taken place, both parents are able to relax and settle into new lives of their own choosing, rather than continuing to struggle with one another in the presence of their children.

Research has also found that children experience negative effects when their parents decide to stay together simply to spare their children the trauma of divorce. Making a decision to remain together "for the children" does not necessarily promote a happy or healthy home. That tension is likely to be acutely felt by a child, and can contribute to unhappiness, anxiety or depression.

Colorado parents who are considering divorce should understand that the decision should be made independent of concerns over how it might affect shared children. The decision whether to stay together or file for divorce is one that should be made by the adult parties, based on their individual beliefs about the relationship and its chance of survival. Children are incredibly resilient, and will adapt to divorce and a new child custody structure relatively quickly.

Source:, "Divorce Isn't What Harms Kids' Health, Study Finds, But How Parents Handle It Is", Abby Norman, May 25, 2017

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