Effects of Divorce

The effects of divorce can be devastating. There are many examples of divorces that tore apart families. One or both parents stay behind in despair. They lost their financial stability and income. They have no resources to live in a decent place and they often have no possibility to get a well paid job if any at all.

The children enter a difficult period in their lives, especially if they end up with a poor mother without any initiative. In these situations, the children are often on their own. Unsupported by their parents, they have to find their way to school. They are alone in finding the right friends and to develop and maintain their own social network. As the environment they live in is one of darkness and without perspective and hope, these children must be very strong and self motivating to take their positive future into their own hands.

However, there are also divorces with a much more happy ending. In these divorces, the parents do fight a little during a short time but never in front of the children. They split up their house, furniture, cars, bank accounts and other posessions and debts. They work together on a parenting plan that creates the best situation for their children.

The effects of divorce are many. However, you cannot say that a certain effect is negative or positive. That depends on the situation:

  • Who took the initiative?
  • Is violence or abuse the reason for the divorce?
  • Does the couple have children?
  • Do both work?
  • How many years lasted the marriage?
  • Are there long lasting high conflicts in the relationship?
  • What is the reason for the divorce?
  • Did the couple try everything possible to save their marriage?

Consider the effects of divorce before you actually divorce. Both the emotional and physical effects are different for men and women. If we look at the statistics, the emotional impact tend to be larger for men, the physical effects are more severe for women.

The numbers

In the US, more than 50% of the marriages end in divorce. As a result, more than 50% of all children are children of divorce. A minority of the children experience long term negative emotional or social problems.

67% of the divorces are initiated by Women

People living under the poverty line have higher divorce rates than richer people.

Custody of children is granted to the women in 90% of the cases.

For more numbers, please visit Divorce Statistics.

Financial situation

In USA, many divorced women have to raise up to 4 children with a very low net annual income. When a family splits up, they suddenly have to pay for 2 houses. Additional costs come from the divorce itself and from the extra costs involved in moving the children back and forth to their separated parents.

If both parents have good paid full time jobs, the finances is not a big issue. But if only one of the parents earned an income before the divorce, that parent will be obliged to pay alimony and child support. That takes a big chunk out of his or her budget. The parent receiving alimony will be happy with this funding, but the financial resources will be much less than before the break up. This is mainly due to the higher costs.

Usually, the parent that did not work before the divorce, suddenly needs to find a job to make a living. This is a big change for her or for him as well as for the children. These effects of divorce can be severe.

Money matters are ususally regarded negatively by both partners. The one with the main income will have to pay alimony and his or her relative share of the costs of the children.

The partner without income or with the lower income, will find that he or she has to run a separate household alone. He or she gets support from the ex partner during a short or a long period, but the costs or running the separate household are high.

For the children, the effects of divorce depend upon the situation. If the total costs of the households increases, but the incomes of the parents to not rise, there will be less money available to them. If one of the parents is ordered to pay child support but does not deliver, the budget can become very tight. This reduces the possibilities to go out to discover and learn and it even might limit the participation in after school activities and sport clubs.

Parent should rebalance their budgets carefully after the divorce and put the well being of their children as the top priority. Not the new car or the juwellery and luxure for a new partner.

Emotional impact

Usually women feel relieved after the divorce. They were much more consious of the difficulties in their marriage long before the actual divorce happened. As mentioned before, the woman takes the initiative for the divorce in most of the cases. Man on the other hand, are less aware of the maritial problems. The divorce comes to them as a surprise much more often than for women. Man especially miss the intimicy. They experience the loss of social connection. They are more concerned about the financial consequences and they are quite often frustrated by the loss of their role as a parent.

The guy that desperately wanted to divorce from his wife because he found out a long time ago that he took the wrong decision and who has a new relationship he wants to bring into the open will feel reliefed. He might feel sorry for his wife, but the main emotion will be relief. His wife that did not see it coming and who beliefs that a divorce is the worst thing that can ever happend to her in her entire life will have strong negative emotions. She will feel betrayed and abandoned and even worthless. Her self confidence might drop to the minimum.

The children will enter a period of uncertainty. Their perception of trust and honesty will be changed overnight. They will experience strong emotions of anger, disappointment, feeling abandoned, stress and uncertainty about what the future will bring them.


Although divorce happens very frequently these days, most people react in a negative way to it. Typical perceptions still persist: "Something is broken, so it must be fixed", "the children of divorce will suffer", "there will be negative consequences". You failed as a spouse and as a parent. Frequently, divorcees are derided by the community. Family and friends ask awkward questions. The couple will loose each other's family and friends.

The effect of divorce stigma seems to be the worst for hard working women that place their children in a child care than for men.


An effect of divorce for one of the parents (usually the man) can be that he will not see his children often any more. This is not only troublesome for the man, but for the children as well. If the man is not involved in parenting and he does not understand the amount he has to pay for child support, chances are big that he walks away from his responsibilities towards his children.

If the divorce agreement has been negotiated with the assistance of a mediator, he will understand the backgrounds. The results will be much more positive for the parents and for the children.

The negative effects of divorce on children seem to be exagarrated therapists in the field and by the media. On average, children of divorce experience slightly more emotional and behavior problems than children from normal families.

Added Responsibility

Among effects of divorce are added responsibilities. After the divorce you are on your own. You have to take all the initiatives yourself, you will have to gather your income to support yourself and your children alone and you have to run your household alone.

Although you can co-parent you children with your ex having drawn-up a parenting plan with all the major issues covered, you still have to do the day to day child care, parenting, education and role-modeling yourself when they are around.

If your children are with your ex spouse, you have the responsibility to keep in touch with them. They need to feel confident that you are always their for them if they need you. You need take your children out to do stuff and to spend quality time them as much as possible.


That housing changes for one or more familie members is among the obvious effects of divorce.

Most of the time one of the partners stays in the house and the other finds himself or herself a new place. Sometimes, none of the partners can afford or choose to stay in the house. Maybe because of not being reminded of their old marriage any more, because of practical reasons or because this is the opportunity to find something closer to work.

It is also possible that the parent goes living in the house of a new love.


Insurance policies are often related to a family situation. If couples break up, they have to carefully study the terms and conditions of their insurance policies to find out what needs to be re-insured and what policies need to be changed or discontinued.

Life insurance policies need to be reviewed.

Effects of Divorce: Health care

If health care is insured by one of the employers, health care insurance needs to be taken care of by the other partner during the divorce process. It is important that both partners stay insured during the stressful and emotional period of the divorce.

Effects of Divorce: Friends

Some friends may just give the needed support to one or both partners. Without lots of words, without judging and in a natural way.

Others clearly choose the side of one of the divorcing partners. This means that this friend stops to be the friend of the other partner. In other words, divorcing people loose "friends". It is possible that the initiative comes from the friend or from the other partner. The other partner can start finding support and understanding from others by using multiple strategies. One of them is to tell her or his friends that you are a jerk.

Friends that keep fuelling the bad stories about the ex could better be avoided. They are not helpful and they focus your attention and energy on negative things. In a divorce process friends are there to help with emotional support and more importantly with practical things such as bringing the children to school.

Effects of Divorce: Families

The brothers and sisters and their children and the parents of your ex probably have become well known to you and some of them might even have become real friends. The news of the divorce will affect them emotionally too. Grand parents will be particularly concerned about what will happen to their grand children. How often will they see them in the future? Will they stay close or will they move to a far away place with the other parent?

Professionals in the divorce field usually advice to keep the in-law family at a distance during the first months. This way they the in-law partner shows his respect to the in law family. It gives them time to be together without constant interfering. When the emotions have calmed down and everyone has found a new place and a new routine, the relationship can be continued again.

Effects of Divorce: Work

At work most colleagues will not be interested in the private life of their colleagues. It is good though to announce an upcoming divorce without going into details. They do not have to know the why and the how and what went wrong.

But they will understand that their colleague is going through a difficult period. They might even offer some unexpected divorce. That makes life at work much easier.

Clubs and networks

If divorcing partners have a common hobby, say golf, and they are member of the same club, it is obvious that they will see each other there on a regular basis. If they can deal with that, there is no problem. If not, one of the partners should wisely change to another club. This will be sad, because both partners will have relationships with many other club members.

Caretaking of (grand)parents

Same partners take care of their parents. That takes a lot of time and effort. If the partners break-up, the in-law partner will probably not help any more with taking care of the other's parents. This may be very sad for the needy parents.

Summarizing, effects of divorce can be found in almost every aspect of one's life. Both in the private life and in the work environment the effects of divorce show. Nobody can walk away from it. The negative effects can be limited by being respectful to the ex partner and their family.

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