Effects of Divorce on Children’s Behavior and Development

Effects of Divorce on Children’s Behavior and Development

In the United States, 45% of first marriages are dissolved. This creates disruptions for children who end up being brought up by single parents. Around the time of divorce, children experience psychological as well as emotional disturbance. This can also lead to distress, loneliness, depression, regret, helplessness, anger and lack of control. Again, divorce commonly comes with the relocation mostly for the children (Lamb, Sternberg & Thompson, 1997). This is related to my research question in that these problems are common in all states including North Carolina.

Divorce Effects on Mental Health of children

There is high probability that children brought up by a divorced family will end up divorcing themselves in adulthood. Some effects are abrupt and short term whereas others influence the children all the way to their adulthood. For the adolescents, the trauma sticks through to their future (Cherlin, Chase-Lansdale & McRae, 1998). They are not able to build love relationships due to mental health issues. They are afraid of marriage or commitments due to fear of what might happen. The childhood experience is fresh in their minds, and they see it replaying in their lives. This article is related to my research questions in that there are many such children who are brought up in divorced unhealthy families in North Carolina.

The influence of custody on payments and  support levels

In most cases, after divorce the father is mandated by the court to provide financial support to the children who are under the care of the mother. However, it is common for divorced men to fail in complying with the court orders (Pearson & Thoennes, 1988). The children are left to depend solely on the mother. Without a father figure in place, the children have a rather hard social life. This is very common in all states in the United sates including the state of focus, which is North Carolina.

The long run effects of unilateral divorce

Not requiring the consent of the other partner increases the ease for a divorce and it has increased the divorce rate.  Adults who have ever been exposed to unilateral divorce in childhood are less well educated, marry earlier, have lower family incomes and separate more often. The state regulation that allowed for the unilateral divorced has been blamed and critiqued for the increase divorce rates in the United States (Gruber, 2000). Increased divorced rate means increased single parents, which puts the children involved at a risk of experiencing psychological and emotional problems. Children in North Carolina are among those affected.

Economic effects of unilateral divorce on children

Children who have lived in a unilateral divorce state have been seen to have lower income and to be less well educated. This consequently implies that they have low income.  Both men and women are likely to get divorced due to the effects of living in a unilateral divorce state (Johnson & Mazingo, 2000).  Economically, such children are disadvantages since living with a single parent is socially disadvantageous and most likely lead to poverty. They lack the adequate fiscal support from their parents. In the end, they fail to achieve their dreams, due to lack of quality education. This does not only affect them physically but also emotionally. Many children in divorced families living in North Carolina experience this.



Cherlin, A. J., Chase-Lansdale, P. L., & McRae, C. (1998). Effects of parental divorce on mental health throughout the life course. American Sociological Review, 239-249.

Gruber, J. (2000). Is making divorce easier bad for children? The long run implications of unilateral divorce (No. w7968). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Johnson, J. H., & Mazingo, C. J. (2000). The economic consequences of unilateral divorce for children. University of Illinois CBA Office of Research Working Paper 00-0112.

Lamb, M. E., Sternberg, K. J., & Thompson, R. A. (1997). The effects of divorce and custody arrangements on children’s behavior, development, and adjustment. Family Court Review, 35(4), 393-404.

Pearson, J., & Thoennes, N. (1988). Supporting children after divorce: The influence of custody on support levels and payments. Family Law Quarterly, 319-339.

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