If you are getting divorced in your 50s or 60s and your children are over the age of 18, child support and child custody will not be a part of the legal process.
But the fact that your kids are adults does not mean that your divorce won’t affect them. Parental divorce might not be as traumatic or life-changing for adult children in their 20s and 30s as it would if the divorce had happened when they were younger. But this event can still lead to shock, anger, or sadness.
If you do not handle the situation properly, you could make things worse for your children and strain your relationships with them. Here are three mistakes people going through gray divorce make when it comes to helping their children process their grief:
- Not acknowledging their feelings. Your divorce will undoubtedly affect the rest of your family. Instead of telling your family how they should feel or discounting their emotions, let them express their feelings without passing judgment on them.
- Making it adversarial. You and your spouse are probably not on good terms right now, but turning the divorce into an ugly fight to “get back” at them can make the pain your children are experiencing worse. Alternatives to divorce litigation like mediation may be a good option if you and your ex can work together in good faith.
- Putting the kids in the middle. Your children still expect there to be boundaries in your relationship. That means avoiding ranting to them about your ex or discussing private matters. Save those discussions for friends or a therapist.
With respect and sensitivity, you can make your divorce as easy on your adult children as possible. Additionally, it is important to work with a family law attorney who is sensitive to your unique needs and family dynamics.