Should I Wait Until My Child Is Older To Divorce?
Weighing The Pros & Cons Of Waiting To File Divorce Until Your Child Is 18
Sometimes no matter how hard a couple tries, their marriage will still fall apart. Couples divorce for all kinds of reasons, but some require less immediate attention than others. When these issues are less immediate, they may be pushed by the wayside for months, or even years- especially if the couple shares children. If these children are still in school, two unhappy spouses will often decide to wait until the children have graduated before addressing their marital issues. Depending on how long you have to wait it out, you may want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of waiting until your children have left the nest to divorce.
Will Divorce Traumatize My Children For Life?
It’s common knowledge now that about half of all marriages end in divorce. That means approximately half of the population could be living daily life with trauma from one specific source. Research consistently shows that about 80% of children of divorce do “well” in life. This means mental stability, educational and occupational success, thriving social relationships, etc. Marriage is not the factor that determines whether a child will be happy. The parents’ ability to have a loving relationship with their children, as well as supply adequate life necessities, discipline, scheduling, and emotional responsiveness. Divorced parents are just as capable as married parents of raising happy, healthy children. You may also want to consider individual or family counseling for yourself and children for help adjusting to your new lives.
Reducing the Impact Of Divorce On Your Children
Divorce will be hard on your children, no matter what age they are when it occurs (including adulthood). There are several basics you should keep in mind to reduce impact on your children during a divorce. The first is to reassure your children that the divorce isn’t their fault, and that both of you will love them no matter what. Your children should hear as little about the mechanics of your divorce- attorneys, court orders, support payments, etc.- as possible. Therefore, you should also avoid speaking negatively about your ex in front of your children. Plus, you will both need to make efforts to be civil and amicable co-parents.
Additionally, schedules will need to be respected, but flexibility will also need to be extended at times. You should try your best to give your children a similar living situation and schedule at both households. Also, on’t introduce new partners to your children until a significant amount of time has passed. And working on yourself, reducing your stress and striving for your own happiness, will make you a better parent to your children.
Even if you do decide to remain in a marriage with an expiration date for the sake of your children, that doesn’t mean they will automatically be better off. Subjecting your children to years of arguments and tension could be just as traumatic for them in the long run as a divorce. If you choose this route, you and your spouse will need to take every precaution to avoid conflict, especially in front of your children. Doing so successfully could actually show your children a lesson in emotional maturity.
Your Children’s Age Matters In a Divorce
One of the biggest factors that may weigh into your decision about whether to wait to divorce is how old your children are. Firstly, this affects how long you will have to remain in an unhappy marriage. Secondly, this affects how aware your children will be of the tension in your marriage. Therefore, divorcing while your children are still young and aren’t in tune to what is happening could save years of suffering. However, if your children are in their teenage years, it may be better to make it work in the meantime so that you don’t have to address child custody and child support in your divorce. Some relationships are more tolerable than others, and only you can decide if it’s worth it to remain in your marriage until your children finish school.
How Community Property Comes Into Play
Arizona is a community property state, so the longer you and your spouse remain married, the more complicated it will be to divide your assets and debts upon divorce. While you may avoid the time and expense of dealing with child support and custody if you wait until your children are grown to divorce, your separate property has more opportunity to become commingled. Property acquired before the marriage, or during the marriage by gift or inheritance, is that spouse’s separate property. However, that separate property can become “commingled” when community property is used to upgrade, maintain, or improve the separate property. If either spouse has any retirement accounts, these will also become more complicated to split. An attorney’s assistance will be needed to complete a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO, for a significant investment account.
The length of your marriage is also one of the factors that determines whether spousal maintenance will be awarded. The longer one spouse spends taking care of the house and children, so the other spouse can go out and have a career, the longer they will be entitled to spousal maintenance. So while divorcing while your children are under 18 could mean child support in addition to short term spousal maintenance, there will be no child support but longer term spousal maintenance if the spouses divorce after the children reach adulthood.
Discuss Your Situation With An Experienced Divorce Attorney In Phoenix, AZ
Depending on your current relationship with your spouse, it may be better to discuss your legal rights and obligations in a divorce with an Arizona family law attorney first. Whether you’ve initiated the divorce process, our experienced divorce lawyers are available for free consultations over the phone to offer guidance and representation for your specific situation. Our attorneys also offer payment plans designed to work with your budget. To learn more, call (480) 263-1699 or use our online form to schedule your free consultation today. Our Phoenix divorce attorneys are ready to assist you with your family law needs.