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Are you staying in your unhappy marriage because of the kids?

Some days, you think you can make it work, but other days, you just want it over with. This is common for many who are considering ending their marriages, especially if they have children. Like many going through this struggle, you are likely wrestling with feelings of failure and concern about your future. You may also have worries about how a divorce will affect your children.

It may sound cliche to stay married for the sake of the kids, but it's a debate many North Dakota parents have. Perhaps you were a child of divorce or you know people who struggled throughout their adulthoods because of the circumstances surrounding their parents' breakups. You certainly don't want your own children to go through any more trauma than they already have, but how do you know if staying in your marriage is doing more harm than good?

A rough patch or a perfect storm?

Some spouses who consider divorce are simply going through a difficult time. This may be due to the stresses of work or finances, an illness, or some personal setback. It may even be the result of infidelity or other misbehavior. However, if you feel that, with a little hard work, you and your spouse could reconcile and renew your marriage, perhaps divorce is not the answer. Putting your children through such an ordeal may not be worth it.

On the other hand, there may be definite reasons to end the marriage, even if it causes unhappiness for your children, for example:

  • Your spouse is physically, mentally or verbally abusive to you or to your children.
  • You have already tried counselling, and you and your spouse still fight constantly.
  • You live with anxiety and stress when you are with your spouse, but both of you are much happier when you are apart.

If you take an honest look at your family's situation, you may already know the answer to your question. Are your children okay? Do they seem content and unaware of the struggles you and your spouse are having, or are they already miserable, sensing the dissension between their parents and witnessing acts of hostility between you?

You may find that counseling helps you reach a decision. However, it may not hurt to get the advice of a legal professional so you will know what to expect and how to prepare your children if you decide the marriage is over.

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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