Over the past two decades, the number of adults over the age of 50 who are getting divorced has doubled. Even though “gray divorce” is becoming more common, when an older couple decides to divorce, their friends and family members are often caught off guard. Adult children in particular have a difficult time adjusting to the idea of their parent’s change in marital status. While adult children do not experience the exact same psychological or behavioral problems as their younger counterparts, they are still affected by their parents’ divorce. Dealing with adult children during a divorce might not be as difficult as coping with a minor, but it is not as easy as most adults hope or expect.
They are Still Your Children
Even though your child may be in their 20s or older at the time of your divorce, never forget that they are still your children. They will still love both parents and in most cases will not feel comfortable being placed in the middle of the divorce. Asking your adult child to deliver messages or making requests that force him or her to choose between you and your former spouse can seriously damage your parent-child relationship. Never forget that your child, regardless of age, is still a child.
Deliver the News with Care
When the parents of minor children decide to get a divorce, a lot of time and energy goes into finding an acceptable way to explain to their children why the marriage is ending. Unfortunately, the parents of adult children do not always break the news of their divorce as gently. It is true that adults have more coping mechanisms than children, but the news of a divorce is still upsetting, especially if your children were unaware of the seriousness of your marital problems.
Do Not Take Their Support for Granted
Once the divorce process has started, it is normal for one or both parties to behave as though the relationship problems are caused by only one party. A person who firmly believes that he or she is not at fault may assume that the children share that opinion and that they will provide support for him or her instead of the other parent. It is possible that your adult child will become your confidant and strongest advocate, but do not take their support for granted. A child could just as easily offer support to the other parent or decide to opt out of any type of involvement at all.
Navigating your relationship with your adult child during a divorce is often complicated, and it is important to not let that aspect of your divorce distract you from other matters. Staying focused on your divorce increases your chances of obtaining a settlement that is fair. Contacting a divorce attorney as soon as you and your spouse begin moving forward with your divorce is one of the best ways to secure your future. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to give you the legal advice that you need during this difficult period. Contact us today and schedule an initial consultation at one of our Atlanta, Georgia offices so that we can begin discussing your case.