Why Divorce Doesn’t Mean You’ve Failed Your Family


Divorce marks the end of a major chapter in both your life and the lives of your spouse and your children. Because couples enter into a marriage assuming permanency, people often refer to divorce as a “failed marriage.” Couples decide to separate for a multitude of reasons, and it is important that we work to change the stigma surrounding divorce as a signifier of failing your family. Let’s break down some of the major reasons the label of failure isn’t accurate and should not be automatically applied to this pivotal family transition.

Measuring Success vs. Failure

If a divorce is dubbed a failed marriage because the marriage ends, that would mean a successful marriage is defined as successful based on longevity. This line of thinking promotes the concept that couples should remain in a marriage even to their own detriment. Instead, we should begin to see a successful marriage defined by happiness, the thriving of each family member, and how everyone is evolving both individually and together. Sometimes success means realizing the path to your family’s well being might lie in a different direction, and that direction is sometimes divorce.

Divorce Does Not Define You

Divorce never happens for just one reason, and it is rarely ever one person’s fault. Even if some of the mistakes that define the steps that led to your divorce were made by you, those mistakes do not define your value as a human being. Your success as a person is not attached to the outcome of your marriage, and the other goals you have set during your journey do not have to end because this chapter has.

Your Kids Are Always a Success

If you and your spouse have kids, nothing about your marriage should be tied to failure. You both built a stable and safe life for them together, and you will both continue to make decisions to create the best future for them. Even though you and your spouse are divorcing and will be parenting from different homes, the children you are raising are a success. They are bound to benefit from the work you are willing to put in as you forge this new path with them. 

Your Marriage Was a Success Within Itself

Chances are, you are not walking away from your marriage without learning about yourself, about relationships, or about parenting. Any opportunity for reflection on where you came from as a family— and how you continue to grow during this new chapter— should be seen as a success. Look for moments or memories in your marriage where you feel like your life changed for the better and celebrate those as much as you can. You can mourn the loss of something while still cherishing what you gained.

Divorce, although a pivotal and difficult turning point in your adult life, does not indicate failure of yourself or of your family. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the struggles and successes of this process. At Shafer Law Firm, we have several skilled attorneys happy to assist you and answer any questions about family law that you may have. Contact us for more information.

About the Author: Elizabeth L. Spadafore

Elizabeth was raised in Meadville, PA and was a local small business owner before attending Duquesne University School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctorate degree in 2010.  She focuses her practice on family law matters such as divorce, custody and support. Her background as former County Solicitor for Crawford County Children and Youth services, combined with her experience in bankruptcy actions and personal injury actions, allows her to successfully navigate matters that are both highly sensitive and legally complex.

This content is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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