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Adverse Effects of Divorce on Children

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Whether you or your parents are divorced, separated, or just going through a rough patch, you shouldn’t let it affect your relationship with others or your children. If you find yourself in a bad spot during this time, there are numerous resources available for you. In this infographic, you’ll learn a little about divorce and separation in relation to its effect on children.

Childrens' Adverse Effects from Divorce

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The Adverse Effects of Divorce on Children

Divorces Involving Children.

  • 18.4% of men who were divorced had children under 18.
  • Over 1 million children under the age of 18 are involved in a divorce every year.

Who lives with which parent after 12 months of divorce?

Householder SexPercentage of Children With A Parent Who Divorced
Male 24.7
Female 75.3

What percentage of kids were in the middle of a divorce?

Child SexPercent of Children in a Divorce
Girl 48.7

Single Parent Homes

  • 34% of households in the United States have only one parent.
  • Washington D.C. has the highest number of single parent homes at 60%.
  • Utah is the lowest with only 19% of households having one parent.

Number of Single Parent Homes in the U.S.

Number of HouseholdsPercentage of Population
1980 6,061,000 19.5
1990 7,752,000 24.0
2000 9,357,000 27.0
2008 10,536,000 29.5

The Results of Divorce on Children and How To Help.

  • 25% of all children in the U.S. will spend time in a stepfamily.
  • The average couple stays together for 7.2 years before divorcing.
  • In the majority of cases, fathers don’t see their children for 75% of the year.

Average Custody Judgment for Father’s Visitation Rights

Periods of Visitation Days Spent
Half of Spring Break3
Half of the Holidays4
Half of Winter Break7
4 Weeks of Summer28
Every Other Weekend48

The Effects of Divorce on Children

  • Age
    • Preadolescent and adolescent children tend to be affected most by divorce.
      • This is a result of the confusion involved when a parent is no longer in the home.
  • Lack of Agreement Between Parents
    • Due to the emotional tension often associated with divorce, many parents cannot make reasonable decisions regarding the child’s welfare.
    • The more the two parents disagree, the more likely it is that the child will become emotionally damaged.
    • If there is a disconnect between the child and one of the parents, it could lead to abandonment issues.
  • The Degree of Involvement With the Child
    • If a child is pulled into the divorce, they could experience:
      • Anger
      • Confusion
      • Frustration
      • Conflicting Loyalties
  • Gender
    • Males are more at risk than females for emotional damage due to mothers receiving custody more often than not.
      • Without a male role model in the house, it makes the transition difficult during the divorce.
  • Parent-child Relationship Before the Divorce
    • If children are nurtured prior to their parents’ legal separation, there is less of a chance that they will be impacted negatively.

Helping a Child Through Divorce

  • Discuss emotions with your children, including:
    • Anxiety
    • Misplaced Blame
    • Anger
  • Take steps to connect with your children.
    • Show them that they are loved.
    • Include the kids in social activities.
    • Allow them to help make family decisions.
    • Look for inexpensive entertainment and fun.
    • Don’t expose children to casual relationships.

After the Divorce

  • In a study of 173 grown children whose parents had divorced earlier in life, psychologist Dr. Constance Ahrons asked how they felt the separation affected them in the long term:
    • 50% of those asked felt that their relationship with their father was stronger.
    • 20% of the children felt their parents’ divorce had adversely affected their lives.
    • Of the participants, 50% of them had been married.
      • 29% of those who were married in the group had been divorced.
    • 8 out of 10 respondents felt that their parents’ divorce bettered their life as well as their parents’ lives.


Divorce is a delicate and heart wrenching situation for everyone involved but the impact upon children can be much greater without emotional maturity. It’s up to parents to help their young ones through such a tender process.

Provided by Total Divorce.