Divorce can be a challenge for adult children, too

Divorce brings many complexities to your life. No, perhaps more accurately, it brings different complexities to your life. Take, for instance, divorce for a couple who is in their 50s or 60s. Their children are now adults, possibly with children of their own. So during the divorce, there will be no prolonged or contentious discussions of child custody or visitation issues, nor will there be any questions relating to child support payments.

Seemingly, this will make the divorce process easier, but it may make the post-divorce situation more complex. Consider this, during a divorce, you have to work with your spouse to create a workable parenting plan, especially if you have joint or shared custody. You need to plan which holidays and birthdays you will spend with your children.

You would have known that if you have Thanksgiving and their birthdays this year, that next year they would be with your former spouse. But with a divorce of an older couple, with no need for an agreement controlling the location of minor children, you have no guidance.

You may believe ad hoc decisions, made on the fly, will be easier. Perhaps they will be. But there is no guarantee. You also need to consider that your children, while they may be adults themselves, may not take your divorce easily. They may find it genuinely upsetting, as it may affect how they think of their youth, and you should consider their feelings when informing them of the divorce.

Again, even when divorced, both parents will always remain parents, and while your interaction with your former spouse may be minimized, you should think about your children and how they will take the news and what you can do to prevent it from being shocking.

While you should not remain together for your adult children any more than you should for your minor children, you do need to account for their feelings and work to avoid making them feel responsible for the divorce. You also should not turn them into your therapist.

Source:, “ Divorce,” Jane Gordon Julien, April 21, 2016

Related Posts