John’s heart broke the day his mom told him she didn’t love his dad anymore. It was a warm December day in Tulsa, the house was decorated and ready for the holidays. As always, John and his mom spent a lot of time baking, but at the same time, something didn’t feel right. When she asked John to take a walk around the block, it was mostly silent, and then she dropped the bomb.
I don’t love your dad anymore…
I’m not sure what to do about it…
I’m considering moving out…
As a high school sophomore, John was old enough to know what this meant. His body felt numb. Was he dreaming? Her words repeated over and over in his head. Stunned and silent, his only thought was “why in the world was this happening to my family?”
Oklahoma has the highest divorce rate in the nation. In Tulsa County alone, over 280 divorces are filed each month. Over half of those filing have children.
What does divorce do to children?
- The majority feel rejected by one or both parents.
- They score lower on measures of academic achievement, conduct, psychological adjustment, self-concept and social relations.
- They have a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and boys are at a higher risk of completing suicide.
- They fare worse financially in a single parent home.
In Tulsa, what is being done to help these children?
Since 1999, the Tulsa County Family Court Program (TCFC) has improved the lives of at-risk children.
- In 2017, TCFC assisted 5,596 divorcing parents and 3,996 children.
- They provide advocacy and resource information that helps stabilize families.
- They provide on-site Parenting Planning helping ensure ongoing financial support and children’s contact with both parents.
- They help clarify needed documents and classes, decreasing court appearances and court time for divorcing parents and judges.
- They ensure a smoother divorcing process so income is not lost and the potential adversarial process does not put kids in the middle of their parent’s divorce.
This service is partially funded by the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. For more information, visit www.tulsacountydistrictcourt.org