It can be easy to think, “I’ll just stick it out in this bad marriage until my children are grown up and then we will get a divorce.”
In some scenarios, that might be a good option. Typically, however, the children already know about the problems in the marriage. The children are aware of the tension, even if there is no outright arguing or emotional outbursts. Staying together in a stressful and uncomfortable environment may not be the best thing for your children. You don’t want your children to feel like they have to tip-toe around to avoid causing an argument between their parents or being present when the yelling between parents begins. You don’t what children to be afraid to confide in you, especially during the emotional teen years, for fear that the other parent will think the child is ‘taking sides.’ Many children feel a sense of relief when their parents decide to divorce sooner rather than later.
Financial Considerations if You Wait
- In California, one of the most hotly contested topics is alimony, or spousal support, payments. The longer you stay in a marriage, the more the possibility increases that you may be ordered to pay spousal support until the other spouse remarries or one of you dies. Deciding to divorce after less than 10 years of marriage, or even 15 years of marriage, could lead to a different spousal support outcome than if you wait until after 25 or 30 years of marriage.
- California is a community property state. One of the most valuable assets to divide in a marriage is a pension and/or retirement account. Many people think, “I worked at that company for 25 years, that’s my pension.” But the California Family Code says your income earned during marriage that is contributed to your pension or 401K belongs to both spouses as community property, to be divided 50/50 between you. Delaying a divorce by 10 or 15 years while waiting for the children to grow up may cause financial heartache when you have to divide your pension or retirement account with your spouse.
Children are impacted by divorce no matter their age.
Even adult children go through the grief process. A divorce is a major transition that affects the entire family, parents and children, regardless of whether someone is 5 years old, or 12 years old, or 25 years old. In some scenarios, putting off the divorce might be a good idea, but often it is only delaying the inevitable and it may be better to move on with your life sooner than to stay in a bad marriage.