We at the William James College INTERFACE Referral Service are keenly aware of the shortage of mental health providers of color and how racial inequities exist in medical and mental health care. The College’s Black Mental Health Academy, Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health, and other programs and academic offerings are playing a critical role in reversing this trend. We invite you to read a statement from our Black Mental Health Graduate Academy Scholars, and to stand with us as allies to drive change and address systemic racism.

Impact of Divorce on Families

Impact of Divorce on Families

At INTERFACE Referral Service, we focus on connecting members of our communities with mental health providers. We also value the importance of learning about the mental health conditions that may be affecting your thinking, feeling, behavior, or mood.

Therefore, we have created "Mental Health Topic Pages". The majority of our topic pages will direct you to Network of Care Massachusetts! Network of Care Massachusetts has a library database of over 30,000 fact sheets and articles. Topics on behavioral health issues are written by leading experts and organizations in their fields.


Decades of research on the effects of divorce on children has yielded mixed findings. There is some bad news and some good news. There are also some useful strategies for parenting one’s children through a divorce so as to encourage a positive adjustment.

The good news is that two years after the divorce 80% of children appear to have no major psychological problems, and remain close to their families. The bad news is the other 20% who demonstrate serious and lasting negative consequences, including reduced school performance, poor peer relationships, lower self-esteem, and higher indices of depression, anxiety, and overall adjustment. And even the 80% who eventually come out of the situation more intact must endure the often intense emotional struggle to get to that better place.

So what helps? Positive and competent parenting, close relationships with siblings and grandparents, access to therapeutic intervention, joint physical custody, and diminished conflict between the parents go a long way toward smoothing the road to recovery. But too often parental conflict drives away other family members, causes withdrawal of a parent from the children, and leads to fights about money and support which result in the children having to adapt to a poorer quality of life .

So what can you do to protect your children if a divorce is imminent or has occurred? Simply put, protect their lifestyle, relationships with friends and family, maintain their activities and proximity to friends as much as you can, and above all, avoid conflict with your ex-spouse. So what steps can you take?

  • Avoid litigation. Choose models of legal divorce that pay attention to the human side, processes such as mediation or collaborative law.
  • Make sure that you have enough support yourself. Parents need to remember to take care of themselves. Find a way to reduce stress by finding supportive friends and asking for help when it is needed.
  • Pay attention to whether your parenting seems to change. 
  • Seek help from a knowledgeable professional. A therapist can be an extremely valuable helper during this stressful period of life.
  • Taking the High Road: Keep adult conflict and arguments away from the children.  This is one of the hardest things to do. But it's important never to say bad things about your ex in front of the kids, or within earshot. Research shows that the single biggest factor in long-term adjustment for children of divorce is the level of parental conflict they are exposed to. 

Source: KidsHealth.org


To learn more, visit these Network of Care Resources:

Tips for Coping During a Divorce