A child's perception of divorce will largely be determined by their age and gender, and when stressful events outweigh the available protective factors in a child's life, even the most resilient child can develop problems. Younger children, for instance, are at risk short-term due to the confusion surrounding the divorce and the loss of the parents no longer living together in the home. Younger children are also less likely to understand and make sense of all the changes which are occurring around them.
Divorce is in fact much more complex than it appears to be on the surface. Rather obviously, ending a marriage is not a one-time event that occurs in a courthouse; it is a process. Divorce in itself is a multi-level, series of events and behaviors, which has significant life-long effects on not only those who are primarily involved, but also those around them. The divorcing couple, as well as the entire family, experiences a variety of abrupt changes which impact nearly every aspect of their lives.
The emotional divorce is one which centers around the problem of the actual deteriorating marriage. This is the process in which the attributes that attracted the couple to each other slowly become less important in the presence of more negative feelings; the positive feelings of love and affection are displaced with feelings of anger, hurt, disappointment, frustration, resentment, dislike, or even hatred.
The legal divorce is based legally on the grounds for the divorce. This phase of the divorce process involves the legal documentation informing that the couple is no longer married to each other.
The economic divorce deals primarily with money and property. In fact, for many divorcing couples, the economic part of the divorce is the most volatile one. The process of the dividing of assets can often times be a grueling one, as emotions often run high when it comes to deciding who gets what from the material goods which were accumulated during the marriage.
The co-parental divorce is the dealing with of custody, single-parent homes, and visitation. This is another significantly emotional part of the divorce process. For a long time, the mother was automatically given custody of any children unless they were specifically proved to be unfit. In the world of today, however, most custody decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, rather than immediately assuming the mother will take full custody. The child or children are placed with the parent who is deemed most capable of providing them the best care.
The community divorce involves the changes of friends and community of which every divorcing person