Social Impacts of Divorce
Laura McFarland
HN200: Dr. Toi Dennis
Kaplan University

Divorce is the dissolution of marriage that has been legally granted by the court system (Emery, 2013). Socially, divorce means the legally enforced responsibilities of spouses is terminated and in the U.S., where individualistic ideas are more acceptable, family goals are set aside for the individual\'s goals (Emery, 2013). Greater concern for personal goals versus family goals may influence whether an individual is happy in a marriage (Emery, 2013; Zandiyeh& Yousefi, 2014). In the U.S., divorce still has a stigma but as society evolves less emphasis is given to the family structure and research shows that half of marriages will fail (Emery, 2013). In all cultures, divorce changes the status of an individual and effects friendships and livelihood (Emery, 2013). Negative feelings such as guilt, failure and loneliness impact everyone involved and changes in living can create social and economic problems (Emery, 2013). Moreover, significant life disruptions such as a decrease in immediate family or increase as members are added through remarriage, can impact children with parents who seek to divorce (Emery, 2013). This paper briefly examines issues surrounding divorce and looks mainly at its effects on children\'s lives in society.
There are several factors that research indicates as putting people at risk for a failed marriage. For example, marrying at an early age, lower socioeconomic status, and premarital conditions (i.e. living together before marriage, children from previous marriage, & mental health) are factors that significantly impact the ‘staying ability\' in a marriage (Emery, 2013; Zandiyeh& Yousefi, 2014). Once married, staying together is another effort that is challenged in today\'s society. For instance, conflicts such as domestic violence, poor communication/problem solving skills, and coming from a broken home themselves, adds strain to marriage issues (Emery, 2013; Zafar & Kausar, 2014). Research shows that married couples whose parents\' divorce are more likely to choose divorce as a solution to differences (Emery, 2013).
Children affected by divorce may develop an abandonment fear, which creates a disruption in the development of healthy attachment (Bukatko, 2008). The separation and divorce of parents is a process of collective events and aftereffects that the child is deeply aware of (Zafar & Kausar, 2014). Parents may have been fighting for years before deciding to separate or in other cases a parent may leave seemingly spontaneously, which is often the result of dishonest living in terms of activities that may have been hidden from the child, such as substance addiction or adultery (Zafar & Kausar, 2014). Despite the situational improvement that may come with divorce, severing the consistency that children need, may create long term emotional damage to children is likely to be detrimental to the future adult child\'s wellbeing (Zafar & Kausar, 2014).
Research shows that fathers make an important contribution to the lives of their children. Father involvement is associate with healthy adjustment and children who have one parent missing are at risk for social problems, such as substance abuse, promiscuity, suicide and criminal behaviors (Ashbourne, Whitehead, & Hawkins, 2013). Moreover, children whose fathers are absent are statistically more at risk for dropping out of school and lower levels of mental health (Ashbourne, Whitehead, & Hawkins, 2013). Fathers going through personal difficulties that have not been able to access supportive systems reportedly have less constructive interactions with their children (Ashbourne, Whitehead, & Hawkins, 2013). Research shows that fathers generally have less focus in problem solving, which can burden the transition of becoming a single dad (Ashbourne, Whitehead, & Hawkins, 2013). Additionally, fathers struggle with differing contextual perceptions that influences social stigmas, such as ethnicity and socioeconomic status (Ashbourne, Whitehead, & Hawkins, 2013). Changes in status and unresolved issues contribute to men\'s struggle with coping strategies (Ashbourne, Whitehead, & Hawkins, 2013). One of the most impactful psychological issues that a father experiences is the loss of the day-to-day role and the grief that is experiences as a result (Ashbourne, Whitehead, & Hawkins, 2013). Maintaining the parent-child relationship when the roles have changes becomes a major hurdle for the new family dynamic that results in divorce (Zafar & Kausar, 2014). Frequently, mothers gain custody and fathers must develop a new role outside of the marriage and despite wanting to be there for the child, the response