Divorce can happen to any one of any age, though we often think of younger people when the subject comes up. However, one type known as “gray divorce” is becoming more common as the population ages. This is the term for people aged 50 and older who decide to divorce.
Gray divorce frequently involves adult children. Most people might think that since adult children aren’t in need of financial child support and they can determine how and when to visit each parent without a custody agreement that divorce would affect them minimally. However, if you are a child whose parents divorced after you became an adult, you likely know that isn’t true. Experts have guidance for those who are part of a gray divorce.
What not to do
- Don’t speak negatively about the other parent – This can cause resentment since adult children often still love the other parent. Adult children may feel lucky to have had their parents stay married for the duration of their childhood. Saying nasty things about your children’s other parent can harm how they view you and create mistrust.
- Don’t force your children to choose sides – This applies to any kind of divorce, but it can be especially difficult to remember when your children are adults who know that marriages often fail due to infidelity, financial disagreements or other serious subjects. Putting the well-being of your children at the center of everything, no matter how old they are, will preserve your relationship with them.
- Don’t be tempted to tell them everything – You may feel that since your children are adults, they can handle all of the negative details of your divorce or even your dating life after divorce. Doing so can create a stressful situation for them as they may not be equipped to deal with potentially very private details of your life.
What to do
- Create boundaries for yourself – This means not giving too many personal details regarding your divorce. It is important to consider your children’s comfort.
- Speak respectfully about your children’s other parent – Even if the relationship is contentious, it is important that children are protected from that. It can be tempting to say something snide when the other parent starts dating after divorce, for example, but it is best to avoid doing so.
- Consult a therapist or friend – It is perfectly understandable if you’re having difficulty processing your divorce, but avoid discussing your feelings with your adult child. No child has the means to be a therapist for his or her parent, so seek out a professional or speak with a trusted friend.
Adult children are grown with their own lives and problems, and it can seem like a good idea to involve them in your divorce proceedings. If you’re going through a gray divorce in Georgia, it may feel as though you have limited places to turn for support. Your adult children might even encourage you to share, but it is unwise to indulge that. Professional assistance in all aspects of divorce is the best option.