In 1971, a woman by the name of Judy Wallerstein conducted the very first study of children of divorce and the consequences thereof. In her study, she interviewed 60 families with 131 children among them. She interviewed them every five years over a quarter of a century. The families were all middle class families and well educated, and the children had been well cared for. Out of this intensive study, Ms. Wallerstein found the following:
1. The effects of divorce on children are not brief. Most of the effects on children of divorce follow them well into adulthood.
2. The quality of the family after the divorce is crucial. Parents are told by courts not to fight in front of the children or not to say derogatory remarks about the other parent in front of the children but sadly, most do not follow this order to the detriment of the children. Beyond time-sharing plans, parents need to be supportive of their children and need to put their selfish emotions about the other party aside for the sake of the child. Children need to feel supported, not put in the middle of parental bashing.
3. Age matters. Little ones, ages 2 to 6, are terrified of abandonment. Children aged 7 to 11, tend to be angry and act out when they feel they’ve been deprived of opportunities they may have had if the parents had remained married. Many times this feeling is provoked by a parent making comments such as, “well, if your mother/father would pay child support on time, you could have had those new shoes.”
4. Pre-teens ages 11 and 12, can be easily peer pressured to fall into the wrong group because the parents are not working together to coordinate that the pre-teen has a place to go after school or is involved in post school activities.
5. Many teenagers, taking on the role of parent, become overburdened.
Although Ms. Wallerstein was lambasted for the findings in her study, the same results remain true today. I have seen them in my practice as a family law lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida. Parents absolutely do not want to believe it. If you are going through a divorce in Florida, you need a family law attorney who has the know how to put together a post marriage plan for your family. If you have children, you will always be connected. A plan must be put into place that will allow for the transition your family must take. An experienced Jacksonville divorce lawyer and Jacksonville custody attorney will help you put that plan into action in an effort to avoid any of the effects mentioned above. Please call the Lonker Law Group today to get you started