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What to Expect: How Divorce Affects Adult Children

While going through a divorce can have an impact on kids of all ages, the effect it has on your adult children can be unique. If your children are older, they likely have a greater understanding of the situation, which could make the situation both easier to comprehend yet more challenging to accept. When your children are older, custody is most likely not an issue, but there are still many ways that a “gray divorce” can impact their lives.

Picking Sides

Younger children are typically spared the details behind a divorce, which can preserve their opinion of both parents. When children are older, a parent may be prone to explain the causes behind the split in more detail, which may cause a rift in their relationship with their other parent. Try to avoid ruining the relationship between your child and your ex. If you are the adult child, try to avoid verbalizing your opinion on the matter to your parents to maintain the pre-existing relationship.

Blaming Themselves

When adult children see their parents going through a divorce, they may feel that the parents endured an unhappy marriage for their sake. This can cause them to question the childhood memories they once cherished by examining the happiness of their parents during these times. In contrast, some children may get angry that their parents chose not to divorce sooner in life or put it off because of them. If this is the case with your child, it may be helpful for them to talk to a professional about these feelings.

Following in Your Footsteps

Unfortunately, statistics have shown that children of divorce are more likely to get a divorce themselves. Your children may feel especially worried after seeing a long-lasting marriage come to an end, making them feel as if even happy relationships are destined for failure. Your divorce does not guarantee the failure of your adult children’s relationships. If your child is having these thoughts, it might be helpful for them to seek counsel from a therapist.

Financial Troubles

A gray divorce may occur after one or both parents are retired, which can have a heavy impact on your income. If your adult child is independent and has a career of their own, this can provide some financial relief for you, but if they are still somewhat dependent on you for money, this can cause financial stress. With adult children, child support can be tricky. On the other hand, children are not the primary factor considered by a judge when granting alimony. Spousal support might still be an option to keep you on your feet.

When going through a divorce with adult children, there are many hurdles to face. If you are having trouble with your adult children or any other issues during your divorce process, visit one of our divorce workshops for helpful advice and tips for this difficult time.

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