The Effects Of Divorce On Children’s Education

MLF Team

As a concerned parent, you are no doubt worried about how your divorce may impact your children. Studies demonstrate that divorce can negatively impact children’s education. However, there are ways that you can minimize the effects of divorce on your children’s education. If you would like to discuss your concerns, consider contacting a knowledgeable Georgia family lawyer at The Millard Law Firm by calling (678) 319-9500.


How Does Divorce Affect Children’s Education?


Divorce can affect a child’s education in many ways, including:


Educational Attainment


Dr. Judith Wallerstein conducted a longitudinal study in which she followed 131 children of divorce for 25 years. Her study found that 13% of the middle-class children studied had dropped out of school. Also, 15% of children who lived with their mother had no contact with their father and were prevented from attending school. The Marriage & Religion Research Institute reports that children of divorce are 24% less likely to graduate high school.


Less than 60% of the children Wallerstein studied reached the education performance of their fathers, though half of the children did wind up attending college. Research cited by the Iowa State University says that only 27% of children of divorce go on to earn their bachelor’s degree.


Behavioral Issues


Divorce can be difficult to deal with emotionally, even for parents. For children, the process may be confusing and destabilizing. This can lead to children of divorce acting out or acting inappropriately in an academic setting.


Some potential behavioral issues that children of divorce may demonstrate include:


  • Lashing out at teachers or other authority figures.
  • Demonstrating aggressive behaviors.
  • Difficulty communicating with others of the same age.
  • Refusing to participate in assignments.
  • Isolating from others and refusing to work in group settings.
  • Showing disinterest in education or assignments.
  • Intentionally missing class.
  • Experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and/or sex.


Difficulty With Certain Assignments


Children of divorce may struggle with certain types of assignments, such as:


  • Assignments based on the composition of the family.
  • Writing a college personal statement.
  • Discussing the family unit.
  • Creating family trees or conducting ancestry research.
  • Parents’ Day at school.


Some children may fail to turn in these assignments because they are triggering for them.


Why Does Divorce Affect Children’s Education?


A divorce can impact a child’s education for many reasons. Some of the reasons researchers have cited include the following:


Emotional Or Psychological Problems


Children of divorce have a higher risk of emotional distress. Research published by the National Library of Medicine states that children who grew up with single parents were more than twice as likely to experience a serious psychiatric disorder and twice as likely to have emotional and behavioral problems than children in intact households.


Attendance Problems


When children are shuttled back and forth between households, they may be more likely to miss school or important school activities. Parents may not communicate about this information or be as informed about school activities. Additionally, some children act out by skipping school.


Reduction In Resources


Research published in says that divorce can negatively impact a child’s education more than the death of a parent. One reason this is believed is because children of divorce may experience a reduction in resources. The academic effects were worse for children of higher educated parents.


Research published by the National Library of Medicine says that custodial mothers lose 25% to 50% of their pre-divorce income. This means that children of divorce may experience financial difficulty that impacts their ability to have what they need for school or to participate in supplemental educational activities.


Lack Of Stability


Children of divorce may experience instability. They may have different rules, boundaries, and routines, compared to children who live in a household with both parents.


Other Effects On Children Of Divorce


In addition to the effects of divorce on children’s education, there are other negative consequences divorce can have on a child. Research published by the National Library of Medicine reports the following negative impacts:


Loss Of Emotional Security


Children of divorce have less time with each parent. They often report feeling less attached to their parents after divorce than when they were together. Parents may be dealing with their own feelings about the divorce and be less able to provide emotional security for their children.


Decline In Physical Health


Children of divorce may not be as healthy physically as their peers. Children are less likely to be abused or neglected in married households. They are more likely to visit emergency rooms in split homes.


Decreased Maturity


Children of divorce may have stunted social and psychological maturity. Emotional problems like anxiety and depression tend to increase after a divorce.


Romantic Relationships May Be Troubled


Children’s outlook on sexual behavior may be different after divorce. Also, they may struggle to connect romantically and maintain a healthy romantic relationship.


Loss Of Economic Security


Children of divorce may not be as financially secure as their peers, which can affect every aspect of their life.


How To Support Your Children’s Education


Just because divorce can impact a child’s education does not mean it has to. Some of the ways you and the child’s other parent can support your children’s education through divorce include:


  • Cooperate with the other parent and reach a parenting plan that puts your child’s needs as the focus.
  • Help your child feel safe and secure.
  • Provide information for both parents to schools and academic providers so they are both in the communication loop.
  • Plan for academic success, including how to check on homework, attendance for after-school activities, and paying for college.
  • Provide consistent rules, stability, and structure for your child.
  • Consider making changes to the parenting schedule as your child grows and their needs change.


Also, closely monitor your child for warning signs of problems. Consider counseling if your child needs it. You can also work with a family lawyer with The Millard Law Firm if you need to make changes to your custody agreement or want to try to resolve disputes through mediation.


Contact The Millard Law Firm for Help


If you are concerned about the effects of divorce on children’s education or other potential impacts divorce can have on your children, consider contacting The Millard Law Firm by calling (678) 319-9500. We can discuss your case during a confidential consultation.