The Many Costs of Divorce…

In our last newsletter, I promised to address the many costs of divorce, and started with the most obvious: legal fees.  Dissipation of assets is another cost of divorce, whether contested or not.  There are many assets that comprise the marital estate, but monetary assets pale in value to the truly irreplaceable assets of marriage: children.  Regrettably, the cost to children of divorcing parents, often undetected at the time, can quickly become significant if unchecked.  Whether the children of a marriage are minors or emancipated, divorce can still impose a major cost on them.  In order to reduce the cost of divorce on their children, divorcing parents must be mindful to follow a few basic principles.

1. Complete the required mandatory parenting class in the very early stages of your divorce.[1] <#_ftn1>   In so doing, you will quickly learn how toxic it is for children to feel any responsibility for any aspect of the divorce.  This also means children are never to be relegated to the role of messenger.

2. All children need someone other than their parents with whom they can discuss their thoughts, concerns, and fears during this difficult and sensitive time.  When age appropriate, each child should be given the opportunity, in a safe environment, for counseling with a qualified professional.

3. Each parent should also be in counseling.  As painful and costly as divorce may be, if viewed as a life cycle event from which one may learn and grow, each member of the family can ultimately benefit, either directly, or indirectly.

4. Above all, children need to hear from both parents that the divorce has nothing to do with them, and that they will always be loved unconditionally.

If you have any concerns about child or custody issues related to the breakdown of your marriage, or relationship with a significant other, please consider giving me a call.  Here’s to cherishing and respecting your most valued asset: your children.


[1]  The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court requires each divorcing parent with minor children of the marriage to complete a two session parenting class.  Although no case may be scheduled for a Pre-Trail Conference without the completion of the parenting class, many parents do not accomplish that simple task until the eve of the divorce hearing, or, disappointingly, are given a “pass” to fulfill the requirement by a date certain after the divorce hearing.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Kristin Flynn says:

    Karen – GREAT piece! I think you should write a book on this topic. I have been observing a couple going through this and for two people who started out “doing it for the children” it has certainly changed course and the 9 and 6 year old are smack dab in the middle of it all…I’m considering sending your piece to them!

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