No fault divorce is about 35 years old. And we are just now gaining the perspective to determine the consequences of such a trivial view of marriage and the covenant designed to protect our children.
The National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study of 500 families over a 10-year period. The research was done by Iowa State University. It concluded that divorce doubled the risk of emotional and behavioral problems for children. The study also concluded that in cases of divorce where the biological parents are warm and supportive, where they persevere in parenting and monitor the kids, where they are consistent in discipline, kids survive a divorce. But those are high hurdles for a couple to jump who could not walk together. Discipline is rooted in values and the absence of shared values is often at the root of a divorce. The hostilities that lead to a divorce are often acted out in front of the children. The parents are anything but together. And the impact of being single often diverts critical care energy needed for parenting.
The greatest impact in the absence of the father was on male children. Even in ideal situations, amicable divorces, the toll of the boy was telling. There was a marked higher risk for depression than for a boy in an intact family. The study concluded that, “optimal post-divorce circumstances are not sufficient to compensate for the sadness experienced by boys because of the departure of their father from the home.”
Souce: USA Today (Feb. 7, 2000)