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Divorce & Separation

Megan Hiser, Nick Huggard, Shannon Conover, Jordan

Morris, Taylor Gnagi, Alexis Leiker, Chloe
Nicholson, BreAnn Jaeger
History of Divorce in the united states
Colonial Divorce, 1629--Colony of Massachusetts Bay
creates judicial tribunal that deals with divorce
matters. Granted divorces based on adultery, desertion,
bigamy, and impotence. Northern colonies more open to
divorce than southern colonies.
Divorce Law, 1776--Less restrictive but women still had
little to no say in divorce.
History Continued
Married Womens Property Act, 1848--introduction of
statutes that allowed women to have some right to
personal property to help women have some say in divorce.
Based on state laws.
Divorce Law, 1887--Congress orders first compilation of
divorce statistics to see how big the problem had
History Continued
Inter-Church Conference on Marriage and Divorce,
1903--attempted to use religion to ensure divorce kept at
a minimum, but was not a popular notion.
Family Court System, 1950s--the Family Court System was
created to help with divorce issues.
No Fault Divorce, 1970s--Law changed to grant divorce
when no one is at fault in the divorce. Divorce rates
skyrocket (Kitchin 1912).

Kitchin, S.B. (1912).A history of divorce. Chapman and Hall.

Divorced vs. non-divorced families
Children of non-divorced families are more likely to complete more
years of schooling, graduate from high-school & go on to college
Children of divorced families are more likely to be absent or tardy
from school
children living with both biological parents are 20-35% in better
physical health
teenage children are 3 times more likely to get psychological help
within a year of divorce
facts and statistics
United States Divorce Rate: 40-50%

20% of first marriages end in divorce within the first 5


The divorce rate for second marriages is even higher.

Children often have a harder time in a turbulent home with

parents staying together than they do with a transition into
divorce. Most children adjust to a divorce within 2 years.
Herrick, L., Haight, L. S., Palomares, R., & Bufka, L. (). Healthy divorce: How to
make your split as smooth as possible. American Psychological Association.
facts and statistics
When a childs parents divorce, the child can be affected in
many ways:

Learning what divorce means and coping with the

Difficulties in school
Psychological and social problems
Transitioning between homes
Transitioning into stepfamilies
Herrick, L., Haight, L. S., Palomares, R., & Bufka, L.. Healthy divorce: How to make
your split as smooth as possible. American Psychological Association.
The Effects on Early Childhood
Children ages 2-6 are especially vulnerable to trauma since
it is a time of rapid change and learning

-Can affect how child feels

-Can make them become more emotionally dependent

-Emotional attachment is molded in this stage

-MOST important with primary caregiver

Behaviors to Expect in Early Childhood
Blame themselves

- reactions include: aggression, anger or anxiety


- disturbance can cause problems with how child learns to

relate and trust those around them
- Later in life, adulthood can be affected with romantic
partners due to this attachment issue
effects on Middle Childhood
Ages 6-12 are more vulnerable than early childhood or
adulthood in divorce
At this age, children are more susceptible to changes
its considered a big deal to the child
relationships between parents crumble, while social
relationships with friends expand
Divorce influences this more. The child is now in an unstructured
home and counts on friends for support.
Communication with parents subside.
Behaviors to expect from Middle Childhood
Poor Grades.
children have a hard time concentrating in school because of the
divorce. a lot of the time grades will go down.
Acting Out.
children often act out and get in trouble at home and school.
Sometimes parents are unaware and it leads to more trouble.
children are susceptible to depression and other mental disorders.
While they act out, most children think theyre the reason his/her
parents got divorced leading to depression and anxiety.
6 -ways to co-parent after divorce
Think of your ex as a business partner
Look past your differences because your relationship is solely about
the kids now
Keep track of expenses
Create spreadsheets to keep track of expenses so there arent
uncomfortable discussions about money later
Keep the communication clean when around children & only talk about
the things neccesary
Continued 6-ways Of coparenting after divorce
Work with kids time
Listen to what the kids want to do with their time
If the other parent is a little late dropping them off but lets you
know, dont freak out, life happens
Inform your kids teachers
Let them know about the divorce, when you're ready because the
teachers will notice behavioral changes
Make sure kids have essentials they need at both houses
If the other parent forgets something when packing at least you have
it at your home (Christensen, Hendrickson, Retting 1996).

Christensen, Donna Hendrickson, and Kathryn D. Rettig. "The relationship of remarriage to post-divorce

co-parenting." Journal of Divorce & Remarriage24.1-2 (1996): 73-88.

tips for a smoother transition to two homes
Be age-aware. In general, younger children need less
detail and will do better with a simple explanation,
while older kids may need more information.
Be honest. Do tell kids about changes in their living
arrangements, school, or activities, but dont overwhelm
them with the details.
Do not fight in front of the kids
Listen. Encourage your child to share their feelings and
really listen to them. They may be feeling sadness, loss
or frustration about things you may not have expected.
tips for a smoother transition into two homes
Reassure your children early and often that your divorce
is not their fault.
Let them know they are loved. letting your children know
that your love for them hasnt changed is a powerful
message. Tell them youll still be caring for them in
every way, from fixing their breakfast to helping with
Acknowledge their feelings. You may not be able to fix
their problems or change their sadness, but it is
important for you to acknowledge their feelings rather
than dismissing them (Hetherington 1992).
Hetherington, E.M. (1992). Coping with marital transitions: A family systems
perspective. Monographs of the society for research in child development, 57(2-3), 1-14.
The Process of Divorcing
The first step in filing for a divorce is to obtain the
divorce papers. The divorce papers is the document
being served to the other spouse.
If the spouse refuses to sign the documents then you would have to
hire a professional process server to deliver the papers.
At this point the state sets automatic restraining orders
on the spouses to establish separation.
Spouses cant take any children out of state, sell any property, or
sell insurance held for other spouse.
The Process of Divorcing
The final steps towards filing a divorce require that
both spouses disclose information regarding their assets,
liabilities, income and expenses.
If the divorce is uncontested then only a small amount of
paperwork will follow.
The divorce then goes to court where it will receive
final judgement.
Officially, the marriage will not be formally dissolved until the
end of the states waiting periods.

The length of this process could be from 3 months to 2

Resources for Parents and professionals
Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown, ages 3-7
- great resource to explain divorce to young children
What Can I Do? A Book for Children of Divorce by Danielle
Lowry, ages 8+

- communication, calendar, finance logs
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
- many locations
- resources
- resolution of family conflict
Programs for families and professionals
- Kids First Program
- kidsfirstoc.org
- educational program helping kids of divorce and separation
- facilitated by licensed mental health professionals
- Families in Transition Program
- for separating, divorced, and blended families
- teaches skills for parents
- teaches healthy coping strategies for kids
- Family Therapy
- licensed therapists trained in divorce care
- helps redefine family relationships
- helps address individual and family needs
wrapping it up - You are not alone
- Divorce has a long-running history
- There are plenty of resources out there to help families
- books, websites, apps
- There are many professionals skilled in dealing with
- therapists, mediators, court-appointed services
- Understanding the process of divorce helps
- Knowing what to expect from your children eases the