Like many New Jersey parents, you understand the important role you play in your children's lives. Not only do they depend on you for their physical needs, but you also provide emotional support and the stability that is critical in a child's life. You want your children to be happy, but it may not be easy to set that example if you are miserable in your marriage.
Perhaps you have your own memories of sorrow and struggle after your parents split, and you want to protect your children from a similar situation. Even if every day with your spouse is a struggle, you wonder if it is better to stay in the marriage for the sake of the kids or to divorce and try for a fresh start. These are not easy questions to answer, but it may help to examine both sides.
Weighing all the factors
It may be possible for you and your spouse to remain married while your children are still young. However, if you plan to do this, you will want to be certain your differences do not affect the children's well-being. Studies show that having both parents in the home is often beneficial for the children as long as the parents can cooperate and get along. On the other hand, you may decide it is wiser to end the marriage, especially if any of the following factors exist in your home:
- One or both of you are often so distracted by your unhappy situation that you are unable to focus on the needs of the children.
- Your physical or mental health is deteriorating because of the conflict with your spouse.
- You and your spouse constantly battle over parenting issues.
- You and your spouse find it difficult to be in the same room without arguing or having emotional confrontations.
- Your spouse is physically or verbally abusive to you or your children.
Of course, if there is abuse in your home, the safety of you and the children should be your first concern. However, if what you are dealing with is simply a breakdown in the relationship, the answer may not be as clear.
If you are still confused after you weigh these factors, you may find it helpful to learn more about the divorce process and your legal rights. Sometimes fear and uncertainty come from a lack of solid and reliable information. Once you understand what you can expect from a divorce and the options for setting and attaining your goals, you may find it easier to make a decision that will be in everyone's best interests.