Legal separation affects a significant portion of children, with studies finding that half of all children in the United States will witness the ending of their parent’s marriage. Separation has short-term and long-term effects on children and can impact their development into adulthood. Although you don’t want your children to suffer, you and your spouse have agreed that legal separation is the best step to take. After all, you also need to take your sanity and life into consideration. 

As tricky as legal separation is on your family, it’s still the gentler option compared to divorce. There is always the possibility of you and your former spouse reuniting, so legal separation will be easier to process for your children than a divorce. 

Short-Term Impact of Separation on Children

As for short-term effects go, parental separation leaves children struggling emotionally. Anger and sadness will be typical symptoms, regardless of your child’s age. Sorrow leads to isolation, anger, and social difficulties. This, in turn, can potentially lead to your children underperforming academically as a result of their parent’s break-up.

Moreover, children will grapple with feelings of guilt, abandonment, and blame toward you and your former spouse. Initially, these emotions are justified—but if an extended time passes and your children show no signs of improvement, you’ll have to seek professional counseling for them. Unfortunately, children are susceptible to thinking that they are responsible for their parent’s separation, and they are especially vulnerable to adopting this mentality between the ages of 3-8. It’s your responsibility to reassure your children that it is not their fault that you and your former spouse separated. 

Long-Term Impact of Separation on Children

Parental separation leaves an enduring legacy in the lives of children impacted by it. Children from broken homes are more likely to experience a higher incidence of drug use, criminality, depression, and broken marriages in their own lives. In general, kids who come from broken families do worse on every wellbeing indicator than children who come from functioning families. 

While this is all difficult information to handle, separation is not the only reason a child will experience difficulties. The ongoing parental conflict has a substantial impact on children’s long-term outcomes. No matter what path you and your former spouse choose to take, separation is bound to harm your children; however, subjecting your children to constant arguments and getting them involved will be even more detrimental to your children’s development. 

You can be an ex-spouse, but you can never be an ex-parent. Although you have the right to form and dissolve relationships as you please, your children have no other choice. Even if the marriage didn’t work out between you and your former spouse, (at least for the time being) as a parent, you must provide your children with the best care. Adequate childcare will help your children develop healthily, physically, psychologically, and emotionally. It’s in everyone’s best interest for you and your former spouse to act like adults. 

Before jumping straight into a divorce, it’s best to go with a legal separation first. This will allow your family to test how an actual divorce will go. In any case, your children are your main priority, and you will have to remain on good terms with the other parent to raise them. Contact The Ault Firm today if you need the assistance of a divorce attorney.