When a marriage breaks down, often a Long Island couple will try to “stay together for the children” rather than recognize that this can sometimes do more harm to the child than seeking the services of a divorce lawyer to end the destructive pattern of the marriage.
Many people dream that their children will grow up with a white picket fence, two parents who love them and each other, a loving pet, siblings, and a tire swing. But at times, that scenario is simply that, a dream that a couple just cannot seem to achieve in real life.
As you read this, you may feel that hint of familiarity in thinking you were on the path to realizing the dream, but just cannot find your way back to it. You are not alone. Hundreds of couples begin families with rose-colored glasses, only to find that the stresses of bills, mortgage payments, a random flat tire, and even the traumas of raising children can all put stress on a marriage. Often, these stresses reveal real problems in the relationship that cannot be repaired. When this happens, couples have two options: stay together “for the sake of the children” or get a divorce.
Should We Stay Together for the Children?
While each marriage, and therefore each divorce, is unique, it is important to discuss all your options, including any possibility for reconciliation, with your Long Island divorce attorney. However, if you and your partner are already seeking the assistance of an attorney, one or both of you may recognize you are already past the point of reconciliation. One of you may have suggested the option of staying together for the children, but you now wonder if that is such a good idea.
When couples who no longer get along, love each other, or find each other attractive stay together, they usually explain it by saying it will benefit their children. The following are a few points both you and your spouse should be aware of before deciding to “stay together for the children.”
- Essentially, you and your spouse are already emotionally divorced. You and your spouse no longer love each other, or you may love each other but just have irreconcilable differences. Yes, staying together would give your children the opportunity to grow up with both parents under one roof, but it would not give your child the opportunity to see what a loving relationship looks like. Children learn how to love from their parents, and if their parents are not in love and are not showing one another affection, a child may shy away from love in his or her future.
- Being witness to his or her parent’s arguing causes children stress and anxiety. Of course you and your partner imagine staying together amicably, but one of you may begin to dislike the other on a personal level because he or she is unhappy in the current relationship. This often leads to fights, arguments, and tension within a home. While you may not intend to argue around your children, a child can feel the energy of his or her parents and is well aware when things are not quite right. Young children especially need to grow up in a comfortable environment.
- Your children may not bond well with each other. If your home is filled with tension due to an uncomfortable situation between you and your spouse, your children may find that time they would have spent in the living room or at the dining room table is spent locked alone in their own rooms or out at friend’s homes. You want your children to feel comfortable at home, and to be together after a long day at school. You don’t want your kids to feel that as soon as they step into their living room they can feel the anger between their parents.
How many times have we all heard our Long Island friends or family members say that their marriage just is not working anymore, but that they want to stay together for the kids rather than seek the counsel of a divorce attorney? You may even be saying it to yourself right now. In theory, an attempt to save a marriage for the sake of the children seems like a valiant and great idea, however, in reality doing so can cause more harm than good to the children.
Have Questions About Divorce on Long Island?
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The experienced and compassionate divorce attorneys at Robert E. Hornberger, Esq. P.C. have helped hundreds of Long Island couples resolved their divorce and legal separation issues amicably and affordably. Contact us today at 631-923-1910 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Long Island divorce attorney.