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Four ways to address gray divorce with your adult children

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2022 | Family Law |

Getting divorced later in life can be difficult. There’s the logistics of untangling two lives that have been entwined for decades, and the emotional burden of ending your relationship can be crushing. If you’re on the verge of one of these divorces, often referred to as a gray divorce, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind. Although you may not have young children to think about, you still might be worried about how your marriage dissolution is going to affect your adult children.

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to try to make the divorce process easier on you and your children. Let’s look at some of the ways that you can do that:

  • Avoid speaking badly about the other parent: This is something that applies to adult children just as much as it applies to younger kids. By sharing intimate details of your marriage and discussing your problems with the other parent, you relinquish your parental role in exchange for a peer role with your child. This can cause additional grief to your adult child. Not only are they losing their parent’s marriage, but they’re also, in a way, losing a parent. If you want to maintain that parent-child relationship, you should avoid disparaging the other parent.
  • Disallow role reversal: In many gray divorces, parents turn to their adult children for advice that is better suited for friends or even professionals. By asking your children for this guidance, you again remove yourself from your parental role, which can cause additional trauma to your child and actually leave you without the parent-child relationship that you want.
  • Allow your child to support the other parent: Gray divorces are often difficult for all parties involved. Remember that your child loves both parents. So, if the other parent needs additional support because they are isolating, feeling depressed or are otherwise presenting as distraught, allow your child to comfort them. If you make your child feel guilty about spending time with the other parent, your kid might end up avoiding you more so that they can avoid feeling guilt. You don’t want that to happen.
  • Set boundaries and explain them: Your child might not know how to respond to your divorce. As a result, your child may try to overstep the parent-child relationship to support you in a way that you should be seeking out elsewhere. It’s okay to tell your child that you both need to respect the parent-child relationship and that you don’t want to talk about the details of your marriage and divorce with them. These boundaries will protect your child’s emotional well-being and your relationship with them.

There are other things that you can do to make your gray divorce easier on you and your children. You just need to take a step back and view the situation from as objective of a standpoint as you can. We know that can be difficult to do, though, which is why you may want to include a therapist and an attorney in your support network as you navigate your divorce.

How an attorney can help you with your case

You have a lot to think about as you navigate your gray divorce. And we know that the emotional realities of your situation can be overwhelming. But an attorney can step in to help you navigate the complexities of your divorce. A legal professional can assist you in developing a property division negotiation strategy and can craft the compelling arguments that you need to address spousal support arguments in court.

By securing this legal guidance, you may stand a better chance of securing the outcome that you want and moving on to the next chapter of your life in a financially and emotionally healthy manner.