Kansas City, MO-When the subject of divorce comes up people often declare that “50 percent of all marriages end in divorce,” but that is no longer completely accurate as divorce rates have been steadily declining since the 1980s.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control showed that 44 percent of marriages in 2011 ended in divorce. Reasons for divorcing vary, but research indicates that married couples, who have children, are less likely to divorce than their childless counterparts.

Even though children may help couples stay together, a National Marriage Project study found that becoming a parent leads to less marriage satisfaction especially the first three years of their child’s life, according to Attachment Parenting International (API).  Marital satisfaction decreases after their child’s first three years, but can increase again after children have left the home.

Parents attribute their dissatisfaction to lack of sleep, a strain on their finances, increased home workload, new childcare routines and less quality time spent as a couple.

Though parenthood can lead to less satisfaction with their marriage, parents can create a buffer that helps them get through the tougher years by agreeing on parenting styles.

“Parents who are consistent in their expectations and reactions to their children’s behavior, and state their values clearly,” have a better opportunity of having marital satisfaction, the API states.

Sharing the home workload and child rearing duties, having the support of friends and family who not only take the marriage seriously but is also someone the parent can talk to about their challenges. Parents who share the same family values, and view child rearing as a virtue are “more emotionally invested in one other and less prone to divorce.”

Moreover, despite expressing marital dissatisfaction, studies show that married couples have less depression and anxiety than single parents. Being a single parent is much more difficult since they lack the parenting, emotional and financial support that a partnership offers.

Couples that put the needs of the family and their spouse have a higher marital satisfaction rate.  If one they or both partners put their personal needs above those of their spouse and children tend to have less satisfaction with their marriage. Parents who spend time playing, talking, and working on projects together are generally happier with their marriages.

But the fact is not all parents agree on how to raise their children. Regardless of their best efforts some couples cannot resolve their differences and staying in an unhappy marriage will eventually have a negative impact on children. It’s a tough situation, a parental split takes its toll on a child but so does an unhappy household.

Divorce may not be ideal, but if issues cannot be resolved it may be the couple’s only option. This can be a difficult transition for the parents and their child or children, but there are ways to negate some of the adverse effects. Allowing a neutral third party, like a divorce attorney, help the couple work through their differences and resolve custody issues is one way to ease the pain of divorce.