Divorce-Related Stress

Stressors From a Child Custody Case

Even though divorce is tough on families, staying together for the sole sake of the children may not be the best option. In fact, children who live in homes with a lot of arguing, hostility and discontentment may be at a higher risk for developing mental health issues and behavior problems. Seek help from a child custody attorney at Montgomery, Kelley & Dennett to help you navigate these delicate times.

For some children, parental separation isn’t the hardest part of a child custody case but the accompanying stressors are what make divorce the most difficult. Things like changing schools, moving to a new home, and living with a single parent who feels a little more jaded are just a few of the additional stressors that make divorce difficult.

Stressors Children May Face

Divorce usually means children lose daily contact with one parent—most often fathers. Decreased contact affects the parent-child bond and many children feel less close to their fathers after divorce. This separation also affects a child’s relationship with the custodial parent—most often mothers. Primary caregivers often report higher levels of stress associated with single parenting.

Financial hardships are also common, many families have to move to smaller homes or change neighborhoods and they often have fewer material resources. Many children endure ongoing changes to their family dynamics. The addition of a step-parent and possibly several step-siblings can be another big adjustment. Potential outcomes for your child after a divorce may also include:

Mental Health Problems – Divorce may increase the risk for mental health problems in children and adolescents. Regardless of age, gender, and culture, children of divorced parents experience increased psychological problems. But, studies have also found depression and anxiety rates are higher in children from divorced parents.

Behavior Problems – Children from divorced families may experience more externalizing problems, such as conduct disorders, delinquency, and impulsive behavior than kids from two-parent families.6 In addition to increased behavior problems, children may also experience more conflict with peers after a divorce.

Poor Academic Performance – Children from divorced families don’t always perform as well academically. However, a study published in 2019 suggested kids from divorced families tended to have trouble with school if the divorce was unexpected, whereas children from families where divorce was likely didn’t have the same outcome.

Risk-Taking Behaviors – Adolescents with divorced parents are more likely to engage in risky behavior, such as substance use and early sexual activity. In the United States, adolescents with divorced parents drink alcohol earlier and report higher alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and drug use than their peers.

Individual therapy and Family therapy may be recommended to address changes in family dynamics. Some communities also offer support groups for kids. Support groups allow kids in certain age groups to meet with other children who may be experiencing similar changes in family structure and help them feel like they are not alone.

Montgomery Kelley & Dennett are here to help!

Are you in need of legal assistance with your child custody case and live in Yorktown, Virginia? At Montgomery, Kelley & Dennett we have decades of combined legal experience to pursue your case.