Kids Divorce Stories

I received this from Jennifer Morse, from the Ruth Institute, whom I saw again during Acton U.

We now have a special blog called Kids Divorce Stories where people can go and write anonymously. about their experiences. I posted a link to this on your facebook page. (I hope you don’t mind my doing that, but there seemed to be a number of people posting things on your wall, some of which contradict each other.)

IN any case, I would be grateful if you would alert your readers to this project. People can go over to Kids Divorce Stories and write about their experiences, anonymously, if they wish. And, if people have friends who are considering divorce, they can invite those friends to go and see what the long-term impact on their kids might prove to be.  In the long run, that use of the site may prove to be the most impactful. If we discourage even a few people from ending a “low-conflict” marriage, I will be truly happy.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. pelerin says:

    This seems an excellent project and hopefully it will help both the children of divorced parents and parents themselves who may be considering divorce. There can be few families today where divorce is unknown.

    My first encounter with divorce was when I was a teenager and found out that my own father had been married before and subsequently divorced. It came as a great shock at the time in spite of happening before I was born. Some years later I married my husband whose parents had divorced when he was a young child and I could see that this experience had had a long lasting effect on his life. Sadly one of our children divorced after several years of marriage and the effect on our grandchildren can be seen today.

  2. Liz says:

    These stories are heart-wrenching. Oh, what damage it does when a parent is selfish (or both are.) It’s so sad.

  3. BillyHW says:

    I’ve often wondered what damage the 99.5% successful annulment rate in my country does to children. Perhaps those that work in the annulment industry need to reflect on the damage they are doing to children, as is so clearly reflected in these kids’ divorce stories. Instead of the annulment culture that exists today, we should be developing a culture of faithfulness to the vows of sacramental marriage, for the sake of the children especially.

    (Here is a reference for the stat:

  4. Priam1184 says:

    Divorce is so destructive. I grew up during he ’80s and ’90s when divorce had finally become widespread and so socially acceptable that nobody batted an eyelash about it anymore. My parents stayed together until death (for which I am eternally grateful) but I knew so many people who ended with such troubled existences because their parents couldn’t bring themselves to stay together and ended up getting divorced for such stupid reasons. Their children end up seeking out every empty pleasure imaginable to fill the void, and in many cases become so very self destructive and that plague spreads to those children who came from homes that stayed together, many of who will end up doing stupid things as well just to fit in. Of course, back in my day people still did bother to get married and at least try for a little while to make a family. Now it is all ‘baby mommas’ and ‘baby daddies.’ Stupid. Maybe someday the Church will want to start preaching the virtue of chastity once again and explain to people that, though it is a cross, it can provide them with incredible peace.

    There are Catholics who think that contraception is the root of all evil, and while contraception has given us many evils it never would have appeared on the scene if society had not first widely accepted the twin evils of marriage being merely a civil contract and of no fault divorce.

  5. mamajen says:

    My grandparents’ divorce had a ripple effect through generations. They had six children. It doesn’t stop with the parents and kids (unless they work very hard to compensate and heal). I hope this project does help people think twice.

  6. AnAmericanMother says:

    Even those of us who had parents who remained faithful unto death were affected.
    When the great wave of divorces started in the 60s, my sister and I were terrified because so many of our friends’ parents were divorcing for what seemed to be completely trivial reasons – not alcoholism or abuse but because somebody met a younger, cuter alternative or wanted to “find” him or herself.
    I can remember when a couple who were among my parents’ closest friends split, my sister and I clinging to my dad’s hands and begging him not to leave. He reassured us (as I reassured my children in a similar situation) and we believed him (Dad was always straight up honest and I can’t recall him ever telling us a lie, even for our own good), but I still remember that fear.

  7. John of Chicago says:

    Divorce seems to be closely correlated to the youth of the couple is at marriage, their income, level of education and likelihood of domestic violence. This is easily seen when one compares states in these categories. For example, Arkansas and Alabama score poorly regarding age at marriage, poverty, level of education and high rates of domestic violence while they are among the highest states in rates of divorce. Connecticut and Massachusetts rank near the opposite end of these scales in terms of age at marriage, income, level of education and likelihood of domestic violence, and these states have among the lowest divorce rates.
    It appears that the longer a prospective husband and wife stay in school and delay their marriage, the less likely they are to be poor, suffer domestic violence and end up divorced. Bet their kids would be way better off, as well.

  8. rkingall says:

    My husband and I both have divorced parents. Three of the four parents went on to have second families, a mixture of biological (half) and step siblings for us. Family gatherings are comically large, and thankfully there is no strife or awkwardness anymore.

    I think it speaks volumes that neither my spouse nor I felt we were “ready” for marriage until we were in our 30’s. 33 and 34, to be exact. I can tell you I was definitely afraid of ending up like my parents – my mother woefully unhappy and feeling unloved/unfulfilled, and my stoic father doing what he always thought was the right thing to do. In both my situation and my husband’s, our MOTHERS left us with our fathers to seek new horizons. I remember crying a lot when I was 13, the age I was when she split. Then I just toughed it up and went on to assume many of her responsibilities – cooking, laundry, giving my younger siblings a bath, etc. Both parents re-married quickly which was hard on many, many levels. In my early adulthood, I believed I had emotionally reconciled all of it. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that they were incredibly selfish people. Now, at 43, I accept them and everything that happened. There was a lot of forgiveness to be given on my part. I am at peace about all of it.

    But here’s the legacy: I find myself feeling unloved and unfulfilled, just like my mother. My husband is stoic, just like my father. There was a time when I mentally checked out of the marriage. I went to a lawyer to get prepared for a separation. I wanted my husband out of the house. I imagined my life without him – free to do what I wanted, travel, etc. No one to argue with me about how I load the dishwasher, or not thank me for holding down a full-time job, doing all of the household chores, including all the outside stuff and car maintenance while he lay in bed day in and day out, depressed from a lay-off and stymied career. But then I looked into the face of our beautiful daughter and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let her grow up the way we did.

    I don’t want to presume that I have it any more difficult than anyone else, but marriage is *hard*. I’ve been married 11 years, and it ain’t anything close to what I thought I was in for. I believed that because I waited so long to find the “perfect” partner, it would be smooth sailing. It’s not. Far from it. It’s frustrating and lonely a lot of the time. Pre-Cana instruction ought to clue in the newly betrothed about this, too. What do you do when your dream-bubble bursts and you realize you are two flawed people trying to make a life with each other and your kids?

    My husband nor I deal very well with marital unhappiness and strife. This was not properly role modeled to us as children in in-tact families. We’ve been forced to address it in our 40’s with the help of a very good Catholic therapist in the area and a lot of prayer. We are considering Retrovaille in the Fall, too. Knowing the lasting effects of divorce, we are fighting to keep our marriage, and hopefully, make it better. For the sake of my beautiful daughter.

  9. Priam1184 says:

    @rkingall I have dealt with something similar so I will venture out onto the treacherous waters of giving advice, and it ain’t easy: take up the cross. Let him load the dishwasher however he wants, in whatever stupid way he wants to, and (even harder) let him tell you how to load the dishwasher and don’t say a word and don’t expect that he’ll be any nicer for it the next time it comes to do dishes when you will have to do the same ridiculous and stupid thing all over again. Bear that cross (and it is not easy) and you will put yourself and your household on the way to peace. God be with you and pax tecum.

  10. Lin says:

    Thank you Father Z for this post! I have always wondered how other children have fared after divorce. My parents were both from upper middle class families with no history of divorce and both college educated. My dad walked out on us when I was five years old and I still remember the details of that day after 59 years! When my classmates asked where my father was, I told them my parents were divorced and they did not even know what that meant back then. Thank GOD for a strict Catholic grandmother and the Blessed Mother! By the grace of GOD, I have been married for 45 years to a wonderful husband. I have had a remarkable life but have always had a small hole in my heart from missing my dad. The second divorce when I was fourteen was even more brutal. I PRAY this web site helps others realize the impact of divorce on children.

  11. Hidden One says:


    Many of the abandoned cases (12% before first verdict) are abandoned because the Judicial Vicar or someone else involved informs the petitioner(s) that, for any one of a number of reasons, the eventual decision (if no new evidence shows up) will be to not grant a decree of nullity, so the American numbers are not quite as dire as they appear.

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