More about the myths of divorce from Rutgers University’s National Marriage Project:
4. Myth: “Divorce may cause problems for many of the children who are affected by it, but by and large these problems are not long lasting and the children recover relatively quickly.” Divorce increases the risk of interpersonal problems in children. There is evidence, both from small qualitative studies and from large-scale empirical studies, that many of these problems are long-lasting and may even become worse in adulthood.
5. Myth: “Having a child together will help a couple to improve their marital satisfaction and prevent a divorce.” Many studies have shown that the most stressful time in a marriage is after the first child is born. Couples who have a child together have a slightly decreased risk of divorce compared to couples without children, but the decreased risk is far less than it used to be when parents with marital problems were more likely to stay together for the sake of the children.
6. Myth: “Following divorce, the woman’s standard of living plummets by seventy-three percent while that of the man’s improves by forty-two percent.” This dramatic inequity, one of the most widely publicized statistics from the social sciences, was later found to be based on a faulty calculation. A reanalysis of the data determined that the woman’s loss was twenty-seven percent, while the man’s gain was ten percent. Irrespective of the magnitude of the differences, the gender gap is real and seems not to have narrowed much in recent decades.
7. Myth: “When parents don’t get along, children are better off if their parents divorce than if they stay together.” A recent large-scale, long-term study suggests othewise. While it found that parents’ marital unhappiness and discord have a broad negative impact on virtually every dimension of their children’s well-being, so does the fact of going through a divorce. In examining the negative impacts on chidlren more closely, the study discovered that it was only the children in very high conflict homes who benefited from the conflict removal that divorce may bring. In lower-conflict marriages that end in divorce — and the study found that perhaps as many as two-thirds of the divorces were of this type — the situation of the children was made much worse following a divorce. Based on the fidnings of this study, therefore, except in the minority of high-conflict marriages, it is better for the children if their parents stay together and work out their problems than if they divorce.