You may have heard couples say that they had children in order to fix a broken or failing marriage. They saw a baby as a way to get closer to one another and renew the bond that they used to have, rather than getting divorced.
But is there anything to this tactic? Does having children make it less likely that a couple will split up?
Are they staying together for the kids?
There are some studies that have found that childless couples are more likely to get divorced than couples with children. On its face, this seems to suggest increased marital stability once children arrive.
However, you have to consider what might really be at work in these relationships. The truth is that the couple with children may be just as unhappy as they were before they had those children. They just feel obligated to “stay together for the kids” now that they have children. They may not have “fixed” the relationship at all. They’re just trapped in an unhappy marriage because it’s harder to leave once a child is involved.
It’s also worth noting that many people who get married and divorced relatively quickly — within a few years — may simply not have had time to have children yet. They’re still young. They add to these stats and make it appear that childless couples divorce more, but whether or not they had children played no actual role in the divorce.
Are you unhappily married?
If you’re planning a divorce with or without children, you need to know exactly what steps to take to protect your future. This can get complicated either way. If you do have kids, though, you likely have many extra questions to ask about custody rights, support obligations and more. An attorney can help you understand more.