It’s common for parents to worry about how a divorce will affect their children. However, a study recently published in Marriage & Review has found that it may be the parents’ behavior after the divorce that has more of an effect on the children that the divorce itself. The study showed that children whose parents stayed together but were in high-conflict marriages fared worse long-term compared to children whose parents amicably divorced.

Those behind the study believe that it may be the high-conflict behavior and atmosphere that is most damaging to children. Therefore, children whose parents are unable to get along or co-parent successfully without a great deal of conflict after the divorce may have more difficulty that children whose parents divorce amicably.

However, if the marriage itself was high conflict, and the children were exposed to it on a regular basis, the divorce may bring about a much more stable and happier atmosphere. In this case, the researchers posit that the children would theoretically be better off with divorced and amicable parents than living with the daily exposure of a high-conflict marriage.

While every situation is unique and it is impossible to predict exactly how their parents’ relationship will affect the children later on in life, the main takeaway here is that the more civil and cooperative the parents can be, the better for the children. This is where collaborative divorce can be of great help. With a cooperative focus on finding solutions that are best for the children and agreeable to both parties, divorce is no longer an adversarial — and therefore high conflict –process.

Source: Tech Insider, ” One parent behavior may affect kids of divorce more than divorce itself,” Rebecca Harrington, May 22, 2016