Divorce is a life-changing event for every member of a family. Yet depending on a variety of factors, a contested divorce can have a lasting effect on children. Their involvement in such a traumatic and tumultuous event has long been thought to be near fatal to the child's own future relationships. However, experts are now saying that the opposite may actually be the case: that children of divorce may be better prepared for marriage - and more determined to see their own marriages succeed.

The divorce rate has been on the rise over the past 50 years, with about 3.4 divorces per 1,000 people in 2009, according to reporting states. Therefore, it makes statistical sense that most couples today include at least one child of divorce. According to University of Utah professor of family and consumer studies Nicholas Wolfinger, these children tend to find one another, and are 50 percent more likely to marry others with similar backgrounds. Wolfinger says that marriages between children of divorce may be doomed: the risk of divorce is 50 percent and 200 percent higher when one or both spouses, respectively, come from a broken home.

However, being a product of a failed marriage doesn't mean divorce is automatically in your destiny, according to Bradford Wilcox, director of The National Marriage Product. "Divorce is a risk factor, but there's no single sociological factor that dooms you to marital failure," he said, adding that children of divorce may be more determined to get - and stay - married.

Anthropologist and Match.com dating expert Helen Fisher agrees, saying that a troubled past may help children strengthen their own relationships. According to Fisher, children of divorce often make smarter choices in choosing a mate, and are able to overcome obstacles more quickly by drawing on their backgrounds and experiences. Fisher has hope for these couples, as well as the divorce rate. "We may very well see a generation of stable relationships," she said.

Source: CNN, "Children of divorce vow to break cycle, create enduring marriages," Stephanie Chen, 22 September 2010