Child Custody in RI: How a Divorce Impacts Children

In many ways, children of divorced parents in Rhode Island live a life different from those who live in a stable family environment. Many married couples in RI will divorce believing that their children were unhappy because their parents were unhappy. They assumed that because divorcing was good for the parents, it would also be good for the children. However, years of research and study show otherwise.

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How divorce affects children

Children are taught to use thoughts, beliefs, abilities and love to work through any issue to its resolution. When their parents are unable or unwilling to use those same tools, the lives of the children can be shattered as their belief system and basic safety are compromised. While many parents want to believe that their children have a more stable environment after the divorce, research shows children often resent both the absent parent and the custodial parent.

Visible Consequences

In addition to the loss of security and a common relationship with both parents, children are often left with emotional scars that produce visible consequences. Comparing the lives of children at home with married parents and those separated through divorce in Rhode Island and Providence plantations and across the United States indicates significant differences that include:

• Children typically suffer academically when living in a divorced home and often display significant behavioral problems
• The incident rate of children of divorced parents graduating from high school is significantly lower compared to children in a married environment
• Most divorced households have a lower income than married homes, where the children have a higher tendency of living in poverty
• Alcohol and drug use and abuse is higher in teenagers from divorced homes as is the rate of early-age sexual intercourse

Compromised Health

Even the physical health of the child is greatly compromised when living in a divorced home in Rhode Island (RI) compared to an intact family environment. Statistics on the health of children from divorced homes include:

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  • Children of divorced parents experience a higher rate of child abuse
  •  The immunity system of children from divorced homes tends to be lower, making it more difficult to fully recover from an illness, medical condition or sickness
  • Children with divorced parents tend to suffer psychological distress more compared to children living in an intact family unit
  • Children with divorced parents in Rhode Island often have an altered view of relationships, family units and world perspective that can last the remainder of theirlives.

Other Compromises

There are many situations in a divorced family in Rhode Island that complicate the child’s life other than just the divorce itself. Typically, the child must deal with conflict between their parents along with the depression one or both parents exhibit at home. The conflict in divorcing families can last for years or a lifetime after the separation, which can easily place a significant burden on the child well into their adult years. In addition, both younger and older children receive much less attention from one or both parents prior to, during and after the divorce. If one or both parents remarry, the child’s world is disrupted again by other adults and step siblings who can complicate an already delicate imbalanced life.

Life is complicated

Life is complicated and each family’s circumstances are unique. While no easy answers exist to know exactly how children will be affected from divorced, studies indicate that they are affected in many ways. Because of that, if divorce is the only option parent should take the time to consider every aspect of the child’s life to ensure that their rights are protected and that their views are heard and considered. If child custody is not set up properly, the aftereffects can be devastating on the child and family for years. Divorce does not always have to cause pain. Although, it is important to remember that the parents will likely adjust to the divorce easier than the child can.

If you need of divorce or child custody legal advice, contact Rhode Island child custody lawyer, David Slepkow. David is also a RI divorce lawyer and has 19 years of experience in Providence Family Court.