Many parents wonder if staying together despite a difficult relationship is better for the children who may be affected by a divorce. Issues of child custody and child support can be some of the most difficult to reconcile during the divorce process, but staying together may also be harmful for the children, especially if there is abuse or constant fighting going on in the home situation.
Making the difficult decision to stay or leave is not one that should be taken lightly. If parents choose to stay in a relationship in order to raise their children, they must be aware that other steps should be taken to make the living situation safe and supportive for everyone. If they choose to divorce, they must realize that protecting the children from the inevitable problems and recriminations is equally important. In all things, the safety and happiness of the children should be paramount.
Many parents become caught up in the dissension and unhappiness that goes along with separation and pass that unhappiness along to the children. In extreme cases, parents may become so enmeshed in the fighting that they drag the children into it, using them as pawns. This is almost always emotionally and psychologically harmful for the children involved.
One way to minimize damage for children if parents choose to divorce is to have a fair and easily implemented custody and visitation agreement. In most cases, children are better off spending time with both parents. Child support issues must also be addressed so children have the funds for their necessities. Family law attorneys may be able to help couples reach an agreement that will protect the children to the greatest extent possible.
Source: Huffington Post Divorce, "Divorce or stay? Parents must put kids first either way," Rosalind Sedacca, April 3, 2013