What would you do if you were a father of two minor children in a highly dysfunctional marriage? Would you separate, knowing there would be a long, emotionally and financially draining journey ahead; or would you stay together for the kids?
The latter decision is ironic, seeing as the ongoing conflict in the family home has extremely detrimental effects on children, especially when they’re little. So what’s best, then, for the children? Being raised by two parents is certainly better than one, but this isn’t applicable for everyone. There comes a time where the tension and conflict prove to be too harmful to everyone involved.
On the flipside; imagine if this family, already dysfunctional, decides to divorce. Already unable to effectively handle conflict, the parents are put into overdrive by a sudden upheaval of their lives whilst still having to care for their young children. Statistics via the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Attorney General’s Office (below) say that children will more often than not have their mother as the custodial parent by the time the divorce is settled.
Neither parent is neglectful; both parents are able to support the child, yet only one is granted custody. The other parent is reduced to function only as a bank account and, if lucky, the “good cop”. This refers to the situation where intermittent visitation from the non-custodial parent typically brings gifts and treats, leaving only one parent (usually the mother) disciplining the child
So, what’s the best choice? Riding out a dysfunctional family life for the foreseeable future, or divorcing and potentially living without your children?