Family Functions Affected by Divorce

I. Financial Base:

The first function is to provide a financial base for the family and obviously two households can’t run as well on the same income, as one, so there is usually big adjustment to be made here with everyone having a somewhat lowered standard of living. If one spouse has been the homemaker she/he may have to consider further education to ready herself/himself for the workforce.

II. Raising Children:

The second function of the family is to provide a base for raising the children and just as a change in finances can really change everything it can also change child raising because Mom or Dad may have been home with the children most or all of the time and now she/he may need to return to work or school. The children may be in daycare more or, if older children,  are left on their own more. They are now typically with one parent or another, rarely with both parents and often with other caretakers. Very young children do not fully understand what’s happening. Older children can feel a greater responsibility in looking after the younger children, and even the parents.  

III. Social Exchange:

The third function of the family is social exchange with other people, other families, other couples and very often by the time of the divorce a couple finds that they are quite isolated from other families and couples because there’s been enough tension that they’ve withdrawn from other people a good deal. So often a family is feeling somewhat isolated at the very time when they need the most support.

IV. Safe Atmosphere for Adult Relationships:

The fourth function is to provide a safe atmosphere for a sexual relationship between the adults. Obviously this is a common human need and parents as they move away from the relationship with their spouse are thinking eventually about dating again and making a sexual relationship, wanting to think about remarrying and this often a difficult decision making process for parents to determine how to have a sexual relationship especially when they kids at home and how much do they involve the children in relationships with new adults without making the children fearful of love lost.

V. Division of Labor:

The fifth function of the family is division of labor. Usually a couple will divide things up so one is responsible for keeping the family finances, one is responsible for the yard work, cooking, grocery shopping. But when a couple divorces each one has all of the functions of the household which they need to be responsible for and that can be very overwhelming when an adult is working full-time and goes home to all the responsibilities of the household plus on their own helping the children with their homework, helping them with projects. It is and can be very overwhelming so often families need much support getting through this process.