How You Handle Your Divorce Matters | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

How You Handle Your Divorce Matters

In our careers as divorce attorneys serving West Michigan, we have prided ourselves on helping divorcing spouses reach fair and equitable resolutions. This is our goal in all areas of a separation, and we take extra care in helping families when children are involved. We know parents want what is best for their kids, and that is why we strongly believe in the benefits of collaborative divorce.

Recently published research has found that, in addition to potential psychological effects, divorce may negatively impact the physical health of children. The good news, however, is that how parents handle themselves during their divorce is found to be a key factor.


The study, out of the Universities of Santiago de Compostela and Vigo, was based on analysis of 467 children, mixed between parents that were divorced and those that are still together. Researchers concluded that gastrointestinal, genitourinary, dermatological or neurological issues were approximately twice as likely to develop in children with divorced parents. Other health issues, however, were not found to be linked to divorce, including respiratory and cardiovascular issues, allergies, or hearing and sight problems.

Effects of Conflict

Included in their findings, researchers shared a belief that the health issues are directly linked to poor handling of the divorce by their parents. One author, Maria Dolores Seijo Martinez, said, “Poor handling involves very high levels of interpersonal conflict, which makes it very difficult to maintain a good relationship. If children are exposed to these family situations for prolonged periods, they often experience toxic stress.” Toxic stress is identified as prolonged activation of the body’s stress responses.

Collaborative Divorce as an Option

Though at times divorce litigation is necessary, participating in a Collaborative Divorce with your spouse could help mitigate conflict. In a Collaborative Divorce, you and your spouse start with signing an agreement to make decisions outside of court with the help of your team of professionals. Your lawyers and the mental health professional will guide the way as coaches and legal resources, helping you communicate effectively to find mutually beneficial, agreed upon solutions.

Whether you choose a Collaborative Divorce or require litigation, there are plenty of additional resources to assist the entire family. Attorneys in Grand Rapids are connected to many educational and support programs throughout the community. If you are interested in learning more about these resources or how to pursue a Collaborative Divorce, we would love to talk! Join us for a consultation to find the best fit by emailing or calling us today.