No one files for divorce lightly, but few California couples realize how traumatic divorces can be. Ending a marriage can cause a lot of stress and cost a lot of money. For children, the divorce of their parents can have even more serious effects. Research suggests that divorce can actually affect children’s physical health.

Statistics show that children of divorced parents face more challenges, on average, than children from two-parent homes. This can even include physical issues. The children of divorced parents are more likely to deal with illnesses, accidents and injuries than kids who grow up with both biological parents in the home.

Now, this could be somewhat misleading. For example, the stress of raising a disabled child could take a toll on a marriage, so some breakups could be precipitated by physical issues faced by children. But overall, the research that it’s important for parents and extended families to continue to provide structure for children during and after a divorce.

Another issue that can skew these numbers is the prevalence of drug use among children of divorced couples. This can lead to injuries or illnesses. Children of divorced parents are more likely to experiment with alcohol and other drugs than those in intact families.

Of course, divorce can have benefits for kids, too. In some cases, divorces remove children from physically or emotionally abusive situations. Overall, this improves health.

The truth is that divorce has a mixed effect on most children. Dissolving a marriage can ultimately be for the good, but it’s important to ensure that children’s needs continue to be met when that’s been done. A family law attorney may help a divorcing parent handle the process as smoothly as possible to ensure the well-being of their children.