How Divorce Impacts A Child’s Educational Prospects

Reading Time: 9 minutes
Girl resting on an open book, feeling discouraged.
Divorce can greatly influence a child’s future educational prospects.

Here are two perspectives on how divorce can impact a child’s prospects.

Don’t You Want Me?

Daddy says he loves me but he doesn’t really mean it
Mommy says she cares but I’m not dumb enough to believe it
They both just want the money that comes with the child
Don’t you want me?

Daddy says mom’s lying that she doesn’t really want me
Mommy says she knows the truth that dad doesn’t want me
I know it’s true but it hurts to know that I’m not wanted
Don’t you want me?

I’m your own flesh and blood and daughter too
Why do you ignore me when I love both of you
I give you presents of love but you both decline
Please, can’t you listen to what’s on my mind

I’m alone and unwanted
Uncared for unloved

But no one can hear me, not even my friends
They still believe I’ll be happy till the end

By Jenny Miller

My Life After My Parents’ Divorce

This is my life:

My parents are split up.
I can’t believe they gave up.

My life isn’t the same.
It is different and plain.

This is so different than the life we had together.
I thought that we would last forever.

Instead of feeling crabby,
Now I am happy.

Now their lives have just begun.
I wonder what their lives are going to become.

But now I have two families, and that is cool,
Compared to a lot of my friends at my school.

So I am not the only one who feels this way,
So I just wanted to say

No matter what, they support me and they love me.
I just want them to be very happy.

This is my life, and I am very glad.
This is the life with my mom and dad.

By Kayla K. Eikermann

The Impact Of Divorce On Children

The end of their parents’ marriage can affect children in many ways. Studies also indicate that this also includes a child’s future educational prospects as well. There is a significant indication that parental divorce can impact whether a child attends college, even if this step is years in the future. Texas parents may want to take note and work together to minimize the potential negative impact that a divorce may have on their child’s emotional and mental well-being. 

This research emphasizes the importance of parents providing as much stability and security for their kids as possible after divorce. By easing the stress of divorce, providing regular access to both parents and keeping their kids out of the middle of any disputes, parents can make the post-divorce future better for their children. This may also help their kids stay on track for college and other opportunities. 

Parents can make divorce easier for their children by working on a reasonable, fair custody plan that preserves the family structure as much as possible. By keeping the interests of the kids first, Texas parents can reach a final custody order that is sustainable and beneficial. A parent may want to seek an understanding of his or her parental rights and custody options before agreeing to any terms. 

Does Parental Divorce Affect A Child’s Behavior?

The effects of divorce on children has been extensively studied and documented in various journals. This includes the Journal of Family Psychology, Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Child Psychology, Journal of Divorce and Journal of Social Issues.

Young children who experience parental divorce may worry that divorced parents who don’t love each other anymore will stop loving them someday. Elementary school children may think they did something wrong to cause parental divorce and the end of the marriage. Teenagers and young adults, on the other hand, may experience anger and resentment. This is often an emotional response to the impact of parental divorce on the family structure and the post-divorce changes that they have had to adapt to.

Perspectives On Divorce

Here are two poems on the impact of divorce on child prospects.


One day, the worst in my life
The two that once loved me so,
Ripped my world apart with some few words
That I really wish I had not heard
But that night changed my life
Like the way day turns to night
I had now given up trying to fight.

What happened to richer or for poorer,
For better or for worse?
I look back at those photographs
You two, filled with many content laughs
But that one night, which will never be forgotten
Changed my life, not for better, but for worse
A light had been turned out like there had been a curse.

Perhaps I could have done something
To stop this grim thing
Was it me? Did I play a part in this?
You say it is not so, but how could I ever know?
Perhaps, just perhaps, I could have changed your ways
And I may not be in such a daze.

By Sophie

Getting Better?

The alcohol. The fighting. It was hard to take seeing them like this.
The late nights. The tears. Me waiting for all of this to end.
I didn’t want to hear it, but I knew it was coming. 
When it only got worse I knew I couldn’t keep running.
Then the day came when they both sat us down.
They said ‘I’m so sorry but we’re over now.’
I cried and ran to my room through my tears it was hard for
me to see.
The hurt in my heart made it hard for me to breath.

The next day dad left. He cried when he hugged me and said ‘See you soon. I will call you later, and I will always love you.’
I took it the hardest. I was full of sadness and hate.
I tried to forget I didn’t need the pain.
Mom treats me different now. I look just like him.
I ignore them and close myself off. I don’t let anyone in.
No one knows my pain. I don’t let them. I’m just glad we can still see him.
People ask ‘When will you open up and tell me how you feel?’ I tell them never.
Cause’ acting like it never happened helps it get better?

By Kaylee Watts

The Adjustment To Post-Divorce Life

As families split, children often have to adjust to living in a new house in a new environment. Sometimes this also means adjusting to less economic resources than before.

Most children struggle the most in the first year after the end of the marriage. They take time to come to terms with the new family structure and sometimes having two families. However, some continue to experience problems for the rest of their life.

Impulsive Behavior

The end of a marriage can lead to more delinquent behavior, impulsive behavior and increased conflict with peers in school as effects of parental divorce. Young adults with divorced parents can have more risk-taking behavior including using substances from a younger age.

Parental divorce can also put greater stress on the custodial parent and affect the parent-child relationship. A single parent often experiences a higher amount of stress following divorce. One research study showed that children from a single-parent family had a higher risk of abuse or neglect. This in turn had a negative impact on their physical health.

Women often get custody of the children in many states. For this reason, a research study was done and showed that the women often become less affectionate and supportive after getting divorced. They are typically dealing with the emotional impact of their marital separation and the new family structure. The women studied were also less likely to be consistent and effective with their discipline compared to when they were married.

Mental Health Issues

One of the consequences of divorce on children is an increased risk for depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. They are also more likely to experience their own relationship and marital instability. Children whose parents are divorced can also often feel anxious and stressed at events when both divorced parents are present.

Does Divorce Affect A Child’s Education?

Parental divorce is expensive, and both parties may experience a reduction in income. However, finances are not necessarily the main reason why children of divorce are less likely to go to college. It’s likely that the emotional damage of a divorce keeps kids from moving forward with higher education opportunities. Divorce and the end of a marriage is often most difficult for the youngest members of the family. They can carry these unseen scars for the rest of their lives. 

The changes that come with divorce and separation can cause children to be distracted which can affect their school performance. One research study from the American Sociological Review showed that children with family separation experienced lower math test scores with a negative impact on their interpersonal skills. They continued to be behind their peers even after the divorce compared to peers who had married parents and an “intact” family.

Another research study showed that children whose parents got divorced unexpectedly are more likely to have a lower educational attainment. This was possibly due to the larger extent of marital disruption and emotional effects of divorce on the children. On the other hand, there was no impact on the educational attainment on children where the divorce was expected.

Research has shown that children of divorce are more likely to have behavioral issues in school. This includes fighting and disobeying teachers.

Effects Of Parental Divorce On A Child’s Social Development

Many children of divorce may withdraw from their social circle if they feel they are different from others.

Children can also often have a harder time relating to others. Many take their cues about relationships and conflict resolution from their parents. They might lack role models of healthy relationships and marriage.

Sometimes they may use aggression more frequently during conflicts. Other times, they can communicate less and argue more often in their marriage and family relationships. This in turn can often lead to poorer educational outcomes if they do not form positive relationships with their peers and teachers.

Children from divorced families may also take a more jaded view of marriage and family relationships. They may experience marital instability in their own marriage and romantic relationships. Sometimes they have less commitment to romantic relationships. Other times they may express a wish not to get married because they don’t want the marital commitment.

A research study in the Journal of Family Psychology showed that among children of divorce, women were more likely than men to have lower confidence and commitment to the future of their marriage.

However, some children may be more determined to have stable marriage and family relations due to their experience with parental divorce. They may learn to value marital commitment with a partner they are married to.

Can Divorce Ever Be Good For A Child?

A child might do better after a divorce if there was significant marital violence and parental conflict in the marriage. One research study showed that children had less conduct problems when they spent less time with fathers with high antisocial behavior.

Another research study showed that children are more likely to experience high levels of well-being and mental health in single-parent families. In comparison, they experienced worse outcomes in families with high marital and parental conflict. While children do best in two-parent families, a positive single-parent family environment is much more favorable than a two-parent family with marital problems.

Helping A Child To Cope With Divorce

Children of divorce often have to grapple with the long-term effects of divorce. This can affect their social and emotional development and mental health. In turn, their educational prospects can be affected because they are less likely to focus in school. Sometimes they can experience behavioral changes as a result of the marital separation.

A custody plan that allows a child to maintain their relationship with both parents can have positive effects on their social and emotional development. Keep your child out of marital disputes. If your divorce with your spouse is amicable, agree to make a commitment to put your child first.

Here are some considerations when negotiating with your former spouse on the best custody arrangement for the child.

Maintain A Healthy Relationship With Both Parents

Children from divorced families who continue to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents have more confidence and perform better in school. It also has a positive impact on their social development.

If there is an abusive parent, you might want to fight for sole custody and reduce time spent with the abusive parent. This is also an option if conflict in families is high. More time spent with an abusive parent can have a negative impact on social development of the child.

If the end of your marriage was amicable, you can agree with your former spouse to be consistent with discipline. Effective discipline after divorce can improve school performance and reduce delinquent behavior, as this research study shows.

Provide An Environment Where The Child Feels Safe

Children can experience emotions related to the fear of abandonment and worries about the future after the end of a marriage when families split. This can contribute to the bigger impact of divorce on your child’s prospects. A custody arrangement between families where children feel safe and loved will be in their best interests.

Respect The Wishes Of The Child

Sometimes children do not want to spend an equal amount of time with both divorced parents. This can happen if it is disruptive to their social and educational routines. Respect their wishes and don’t take it personally. While you can emphasize that they should maintain a relationship with both divorce parents, your children wanting to spend more time with the other parent doesn’t mean they don’t like you or are not interested in maintaining a relationship with you.

Some divorced parents can become bitter if the other parent has a new relationship, gets married or builds a new family. Put your commitment to your children first. It’s possible for all families to get along. Stronger family relations have a favorable impact on your child’s educational and social development and reduce the impact of divorce on your child’s prospects.

More harmonious family relations can reduce the problems among children of divorce that parental divorce and family separation can cause. This can help your children perform better at school and provide the support they need to pursue their education.

Teach Coping Skills

Family separation and parental divorce can put an incredible amount of stress on your child. Empower your child to deal with the new changes and teach them new skills to manage the impact of divorce on your child’s prospects. This can help them to manage any emotions and thoughts they might have as a result of the family separation and parental divorce.

It’s important for the whole family to provide this support including your former spouse even if your marriage is over.

The impact of divorce on your child’s prospects can be significant. Children often fall behind in school due to divorce. They can remain behind even after the divorce is final and they have adjusted to new routines.

An experienced attorney can provide you advice on the best way to safeguard the interests of your child and reduce the impact of divorce on your child’s prospects. The experts at Sean Lynch have decades of experience in family law.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review.

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City Center II, 301 Commerce Street Suite 2900, Fort Worth

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  • lauradoesstuff andmore ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Hired Mr. Lynch to represent me in a divorce case. He handled it professionally and answered every question I had during the whole process quickly. He got the court to agree with what I wanted and I am now divorced. Would recommend him … read more to friends and family.
  • Catherine Jones ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    Sean was extraordinary, patient and helpful throughout my lengthy and tedious divorce process. He provided a balance of supportive advocacy and pragmatism in his advice, and helped ensure the outcome was to everyone's benefit. I hope … read more to never need a family law attorney again, but if I do, he'll be the one I call.
  • Hawkeye Roofing & Restoration ★★★★★ 9 months ago
    Sean did a really great job in getting my divorce done. He does care about dads! It would have went a lot smoother if it wasn’t for the other party being difficult but overall I’m extremely happy and would highly recommend.

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