Couples divorcing over the age of 50, the so-called “Gray Divorce,” has become more commonplace in the last two decades with at least one study estimating that the rate has doubled between 1990 and 2008. Still, for each couple and their adult children, navigating this process can be difficult, confusing, and unknown territory. These adult children will likely be swept up in the process too, and while their immediate lives will not likely be affected, they are going to feel its effects nonetheless.
1) There may be strong emotions. Adult children are likely no longer living with their parents or are even nearby, but the divorce of their parents will still evoke some difficult emotions, chief among them bewilderment, anger, and grief. This will especially be true if the divorce appears to be sudden or if the child had no indications that there were problems in the marriage. While some divorces may be met with exclamations of “finally!,” others will be met with consternation and disagreement.
2) They may re-evaluate their past memories. This is inevitable as they will pore over their past memories searching for clues to help explain what may seem like a sudden and unexplainable event. Be prepared to answer hard questions and doubts about their childhood. This may lead to feelings of disillusionment about their past, and we just need to do our best as a parent to help them.
3) They may require new boundaries. You may find your children appointing themselves as matchmaker for you. Setting healthy boundaries regarding what you do and do not need help with now will pay off well into the future. Set boundaries not only for yourself, but also for them as well.
4) There will be questions about inheritance. Frankly, this is inevitable, especially if there are new partners already on the horizon. The bottom line is that your estate is your business and who you leave it to is your choice. If you have set up trusts for certain grandchildren or other beneficiaries, these may need to be revised in light of the divorce. Otherwise, who you leave your estate to is between you and your estate planning attorney.
5) They may need time to catch up. While you may have contemplated a divorce for years, the news and the ensuing changes will still come as a shock to your children. They will need time to come to grips with the new reality.
Divorce at any age is never easy, but with a zealous, compassionate attorney by your side, it can be a smoother and less stressful process. Attorney Regina Taylor understands the needs of divorcing spouses, regardless of where they are in life. We provide empathetic and efficient service to help you get through to starting your next chapter. Contact us today so we can start to help you.