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The Impact of Gray Divorce on Adult Children

Divorces between couples who are over the age of 50 are referred to as gray divorces or late-life divorces. While the overall divorce rates in the U.S. have declined, the number of late-life divorces has continued to rise since the 1990s.

If a couple has children, their divorce can impact their child’s mental and emotional health as well as their relationships. Many people worry about their minor children but adult children can also be majorly affected by parental gray divorce. In this article, we will discuss how grown children can be affected by your late-life divorce and tips to help them cope with your divorce.

How Gray Divorce Affects Adult Children

Because of your gray divorce, your adult children may suffer in any number of areas of their lives, including their:

  • Finances. Adult children may rely on their parents for financial support, especially if they are in college or the early stages of their careers. However, because of their late-life divorce, parents may no longer be able to offer support because of the financial impact of divorce. Unless your child is differently abled, they will not receive court-ordered child support. While parents can opt to offer their children support themselves, the court does not enforce child support payments for those over 18 years old.
  • Relationships. Late-life parental divorce can affect how adult children view marriage and relationships, including romantic and other interpersonal relationships. Your child’s relationship with you or your soon-to-be-ex can also suffer if they believe they have to choose sides or should blame either parent.
  • Memories. Grown children may struggle to accept happy familial memories, especially those that depict their parents are close and loving, which can cause them to rewrite the past and forget their happy or good memories.
  • Boundaries. Adult children may struggle to set emotional and physical boundaries with their parents concerning the divorce. If your child shares that they would prefer not to hear details or doesn’t want to attend court, honor their boundaries as this can help them cope with the divorce.
  • Emotional health. Grown children may struggle with to process their emotions in a healthy way. From avoidance to angry outbursts, adult children may struggle to honor and/or accept how they feel about your separation.

How to Navigate Gray Late-Life Divorce with Adult Children

To help your adult children cope with the divorce, you should consider the following tips:

  • Remember timing matters—consider when you share the news with your child.
  • Consider their age—that can impact their response and how the divorce affects them.
  • Avoid asking them to choose sides—they may eel isolated and abandon the relationship with both parents.
  • Discuss what will and won’t change post-divorce—like selling the family home, less monthly allowance, etc.
  • Don’t overshare—they can benefit from honesty without knowing too many details.
  • Accept their reaction—honor and accept that they have a right to their emotional journey.
  • Suggest therapy or other healthy coping methods—if they seem to be struggling.

Consult with Our Reliable Divorce Attorneys

If you are planning to pursue a divorce and have adult children, our firm is here to help you smoothly navigate the process. At Fenchel Family Law PC, we are committed to helping clients make informed case decisions and take control of their lives. Using a holistic and client-centered approach, our attorneys can offer you wise and honest counsel concerning your late-life divorce.

Late-life divorces can be unique in that your divorce can impact your long-term care plan, estate planning, retirement assets and resources, and health and life insurance plans. As our attorneys are experienced in handling gray divorces, we can help you avoid common pitfalls and achieve a favorable outcome.

To discuss your case with our qualified attorneys, call (415) 805-9069 or complete our online contact form today.