Guest Post by David Williamson, content writer at Coles Solicitors who writes on different law and legal topics. He is expert in writing about personal injury law, family law, divorce law, employment law and many other legal topics.

The effects divorce can have on older children, especially teenagers, can more often than not be more severe than on the very young. These children, when around the ages of 12 to 16, actively understand what is happening. They can often witness their parent’s distress, can see the disruption in the family unit and ultimately respect the process. This can lead to a fear of commitment and hesitancy when it comes to intimacy. This age range is also more likely to engage in sexual activity at an early age and frequent reports of depression are known to be an outcome. The result of this commonly swings two ways: Either the child matures extremely quickly, becoming a career of sorts for the jilted parent (if there is one), gaining an increased appreciation of money and gaining responsibilities ahead of their years. On the other hand, they can often project their parent’s misfortune on their own future and assume that they will achieve the same, unhappy fate.

When a child grows past these years, to around 16 or above, the effects are often minor. Of course, the child feels jilted and abandoned in some cases and confused as to the causal elements. However, they are mature enough to understand the situation and remove their personal feelings from the equation. Any deep or confusing emotional conflicts will ostensibly only last temporarily, and they will often support the family the best they can to ensure an appropriate outcome.

The single biggest factor, applicable to all age groups, is that of the level of aggression a child may witness between their parents. If there are common verbal fights, or even in severe cases physical outbursts, this will have major effects on all children, often causing permanent damage. If fighting is unavoidable then this should be conducted away from the children as, at the very least, the illusion of a ‘normal’ family unit needs to be partially maintained for the child to appreciate and respect normal human relationships.

Understanding these outcomes and ensuring appropriate steps to prevent them will help children adjust to the drastic changes imposed on them by divorce and help prevent any permanent damage.

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