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Should I wait to divorce until our kids grow up?

When you realize that your marriage isn’t working out, it can be scary to imagine all the changes a divorce could bring to your life. Not only would a divorce affect your future, but it could be hard on your children, too. You might contemplate “holding it together” to shelter your young children, but this could be a huge mistake.

The longer that you stay in a troubled marriage, existing issues can become more serious. Assets and credit can be much more complex to separate in divorce over time. For example, if you disagree with your spouse’s lax spending habits, you could accumulate shared debt that hurts your credit.

Furthermore, if your relationship involves fighting, your children might suffer more stress than a divorce would bring. You may worry that separation would force your kids to move around between houses too much, but living in a tense environment could be even worse. As children grow up, they become more aware of these problems, but might not have the capacity to understand what’s happening.

When domestic violence is part of the equation, your children could also be in danger. A divorce may result in child custody and visitation limits that can protect them from an abusive spouse.

Other people in your life might pressure you to stay together for the children, but what about you? Wasting years in an unfulfilling relationship can be hard on your emotional health. You may develop depression and loneliness in the meantime. Instead, you can allow yourself to move on from a bad situation.

Although you and your spouse probably adore your children and want what’s best for them, sometimes divorce can be the best option. If your spouse disagrees and refuses to divorce for the sake of the children, you may need to go to trial for a contested divorce.

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