If your marriage is so very bad that you are on the brink of divorce, then that is precisely when you should not divorce. Here are 15 reasons why:
Don’t Divorce When Things Are Awful
1. Whatever made you angry has no chance of being resolved in court. In court, the differences are exaggerated and the feeling of not having been treated fairly increases.
2. Research shows that violence escalates when you divorce and for two years afterwards. If there was no violence, verbal aggression can also escalate to violence.
3. According to a 2011 article on the CNBC site, mediated divorces can cost between several thousand dollars to $7,000, but litigation could cost as much as $50,000. An author, Brette Sember noted that people are usually not prepared for the amount of the retainer and further unprepared for the bills that follow. The article advises coming in having discussed carefully how everything would be divided. Is there something in this scenario a bit incongruous? The article was taken down as of this checkup (2015) so I guess the cost went UP.
According to updated info, attorneys are between $150 and $450 an hour. I have never met a $150 attorney in my life although they may bill that for paralegal time. This site indicates the divorce on average is $15,500.
4. Now two households will have to be supported. Whatever your expenses were, now it’s double.
5. Let’s add other “hidden” expenses: houses which no longer have cash value; health insurance; college for children; small but meaningful items in the home such as artwork, memberships, airline miles. The CNBC article adds transportation for the children from one home to another; counseling; and the crisis that occurs when support ends. Don’t forget the time you must take off from work to see your attorney or to go to court.
Consider the Children
6. A Wall Street Journal article reported a 2011 study that says the children of divorce often are left having to pay for their college education. The study showed that divorced parents pay a smaller percentage of tuition costs than parents who stayed married. This holds even when parents re-marry.
7. According to divorce.com, research shows that children of divorce have a lower probability of completing college and end up making less money from their work than children from intact families.
8. Children of divorce remain married half as often as children from intact families. Interestingly, children from intact families have not only better physical health in adulthood but they even have increased longevity according to the US Dept of Health in 2007.
9. Children risk becoming school dropouts; they have a higher probably of ending up in prison for felonies by age 30. Note: this information is from divorce.com, the site that lists attorneys and advertises “easy, fast, etc.” I further quote: “the assumption that children of divorce are better off than if they lived in dysfunctional two parent families, is wrong except in very high-conflict households where the threat of abuse meant physical separation was the only immediate choice. This means the effects of divorce are usually worse for the kids than the turbulence created by the parents staying together and attempting to work out their problems.”
Divorce Radically Changes Lifestyles
10. Again from divorce.com, divorced single women end up below the poverty limit in a quarter of cases and are more often the victims of violent crime than their married neighbors.
11. Divorced men, on the other hand, have lower incomes over a lifetime than their married peers. They also have a shorter life expectancy; how about that?
12. According to the USDept of Health in a 2007 report, marriage has positive health benefits such as reduction in heavy drinking, shorter hospital stays, fewer doctor visits, and reduced depressive symptoms and reduced nursing home admission. On the other hand, divorced people have increased depression that remains for years after the marital breakup—regardless of who initiated it.
13. The Institute for American Values published a report in 1998, cited on the website familyinamerica.org, explaining that since the adults and the children of divorce earn less, the cost to taxpayers comes to $112 billion a year because of antipoverty, criminal justice and education programs as well as the loss of taxes from lower-earning people.
14. That same website points out that about 40% of children don’t live with their father and 50% rarely see him. That’s fatherlessness and a contributor to crime, adolescent pregnancy, child sexual abuse, and violence against women. 33% of children of divorce believe their father doesn’t love them.
15. When parents do try to co-parent, their ability to handle conflict does not improve; in fact, many children, caught in the middle of the constant bickering, believe the divorce was their fault.
I was impressed by the scholarliness of the familyinamerica.org article and I recommend it.