After the latest media coverage of Madonna and Guy Richie's custody dispute over their son Rocco, Conor Martin examines the potential effects divorce can have on a child.
Twenty one years has passed since Ireland introduced divorce into the constitution, with nearly one in ten marriages ending in separation or divorce. 
 
Ireland may have the lowest rate of divorce in Europe, however there is the potential for divorce to have a negative impact on the welfare of children in the family.
 
A high court judge recently pleaded with Madonna and her ex husband Guy Ritchie to settle a dispute over their son. The dispute is over where their 15-year-old son Rocco should live. 
 
Mr Justice MacDonald said that it would be a "tragedy" if any more of the "fast-receding days" of the teenager's childhood were to be effected by the dispute. 
 
According to Inquisitr, the conflict began when Rocco decided to stay with his father in London although the court previously ruled in favor of Madonna in terms of the custody of the youngster.
 
In some cases, a child can be dragged through court proceedings just as much as the parents. They can indirectly be used as a pawn to win a never-ending power struggle. 
 
This is unfair to any child as they can be forced to pick a side and ultimately play a role in this losing game by siding with one parent over the other. 
 
Judges have heard that Rocco had left his mother's Rebel Heart world tour at the end of last year to visit his father in London and has remained there. 
 
Madonna wants the teenager to return to live with her in the US, but earlier this month asked for legal proceedings in England to end.
 
The judge was asked to decide whether he should allow English proceedings to draw to a close - or whether he should make decisions about Rocco's welfare.
 
A child’s welfare is the most important thing, although in harsh circumstances the psychological repercussions can sometimes be forgotten. Children can begin to act out because they are not getting the attention that they need.
 
These children can become prone to behavioural problems such as anger and disobedience, their school work also can suffer. Long term affects can include adolescents and young adults with abandonment issues which can lead to mental health concerns like depression. 
 
Mr Justice MacDonald said: "I renew, one final time, my plea for the parents to seek, and to find, an amicable resolution to the dispute between them. Because agreement is not possible today does not mean that agreement will not be possible tomorrow.”
 
Although divorce can potentiall have negative connotations to anyone involved, a worse scenario would be to stay enclosed in a loveless marriage. Staying in limbo for many years would not only cause conflicts and tensions but this would confuse the child with regards to what marriage really is.
 
Living in a war zone would not only confuse the situation, but traumatise the child in question.