Amicable Divorce and Children

By Attorney Gregg Herman
September 4, 2014

My friend, Attorney Phil Tucker from Oklahoma, posted an article entitled: “Amicable divorce is just as damaging for children: Impact of a split on youngsters is same if couple remain friends or not”. According to the article, a U.S. study of 270 parents who split up revealed that “break up” children are more likely to have behavioral problems and engage in drug abuse than in intact families.

No surprise there. But, according to the articles, researchers found no difference if the split was amicable or not. As one commentator put it: “Getting on well might make the parents feel better about their split. But it does little for the children. To them it makes no sense if the parents get on well yet won’t live together. The ‘good divorce’ is a myth.

This finding runs contrary to popular theory (especially in the collaborative movement) that highly contested divorces harms children. Of course, this is just one study. And social science studies like these, while helpful, do not have the same degree of scientific certainty than the double blind studies which are the gold standard in medicine. Also, the study does not address whether a split is better or worse for children than parents staying together in a highly stressful relationship.

So, let’s file this study as just one indication that conventional theory is not always accurate. As they say in internet speak: FWIW.

Attorney Gregg Herman is a founding partner of Loeb & Herman S.C. in Milwaukee, WI. He practices family law exclusively, and can be reached via e-mail or by calling (414) 272-5632.