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What are the long-term effects of divorce on young children?

The results of a recent study may not be all that surprising to parents: that younger children tend to experience more long-term negative effects from divorce than do older children. Every case is different, of course. We established this blog to discuss these matters and more, so let us consider the study's recent findings.

A survey was created by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The survey was posted online and garnered 7,335 respondents, most of whom were women. About a third of the respondents said their parents were divorced. In general, the findings relate to how close the attachment is between divorced parents and their adult children, as well as to how people's romantic lives are eventually affected if their parents were divorced.

The good news is that having divorced parents tended not to have a huge effect on the parent-child attachment later in life, though people who were young children when their parents split up did tend to be more anxious around or resentful toward their parents.

The findings point to what many of us probably knew already: that those early years in life are very formative. Still, as we said, each case is different, and one of the researchers did note that respondents whose parents got divorced early on seemed to be no more negatively affected than other participants in terms of adult romantic relationships.

It was also noted that the survey responders tended to have a closer relationship with the parent with whom the child lived after the marital split, but this closer bond could very well have been present before the marriage ended.

In any child custody situation, the best interest of the child should be the major concern. There are often tough decisions to make, and having a family law attorney on your side may help to clarify your rights and those of your children.

Source: livescience.com, "Divorce Hits Youngest Kids the Hardest, Study Finds," Tia Ghose, July 2, 2013

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