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Attitudes about childhood divorce may be changing

Conventional wisdom may hold that children can be negatively impacted by a divorce. Some research also indicates that the effects of a childhood divorce may last a lifetime. However, while any change in home life can require adjustment, the author of a recent article claims that her parent’s divorce during her childhood actually made her stronger.

The author asserts that her parents' divorce, which occurred when she was 11 years old, encouraged her to be more self-sufficient. She further states that it also made her appreciate the relationships she still had in her life, and ultimately helped her to choose a stable partner in marriage. Finally, the author claims that having worked through family issues in her childhood helped her to avoid repeating those same mistakes as a parent.

The author’s story may be reflective of a larger societal shift in attitudes about families and children. Specifically, national survey data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that a majority of men and women approve of single female parenting, regardless of the woman’s former or intended future marital status. Over two-thirds of the approximately 10,000 Americans surveyed also approved of the right of gay and lesbian couples to adopt. Finally, it seems that Americans are taking the parenting step only when ready: over 90 percent of the survey participants believe that children are not necessary to find life happiness.

Has the law changed regarding child custody and support determinations? Just as societal opinions are shifting, so might interpretations of the best interest of the child standard be evolving. Our law firm, which focuses on divorce and other family law issues, has seen a greater willingness of courts to consider joint custody arrangements and a flexible approach to visitation arrangements.

Source: Washington Post, “My parents’ divorce didn’t break me — it made me stronger,” Alisa Schindler, March 11, 2016