The legacy impact of divorce on children



Divorce often has a profound lifetime effect on the child of divorce. While not all divorce-related legacies affect every child, most children will have some repercussions from the dissolution of the parent’s marriage. Divorce affects every child differently – even children in the same families.

Following are some of the short-term legacies that most children experience.


  1. Intense stress
  2. Overwhelming emotions
  3. Constant fear about safety
  4. Difficulty completing task
  5. Academic problems
  6. Behavior problems
  7. Regression to previous and younger habits
  8. Feeling of powerlessness
  9. Total confusion

Many children will go on to experience long-term and lasting results of a divorce. Part of the equation is the age a child was when the parent’s divorced. Another part is the support system the child had in place when the divorce happened. Research shows that when children have a viable support system surrounding them they cope better.

The support system can include extended family, church family, neighbors, coaches, friends and other people the children are close to. Following is a list of long-term legacies many children experience in their teen and or adult years. Children that have that strong support system don’t seem to experience as many of the long-term legacies as those who have no support system.


  1. Anxiety and depression
  2. Lower psychological well-being
  3. Suicide
  4. Delinquency in teen years
  5. Promiscuity and unwed teenage pregnancy
  6. Substance reliance and abuse
  7. Poverty
  8. Becoming divorced as adults
  9. Pulling away from the Lord in adult years

If you are a single parent, what are some the legacies you see in your children? What support systems do they have?

If you are a church leader, what support system do the kids of divorce have in your community? Are you part of their support system?


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on October 7, 2015.

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