Gray Divorces and Parenting
Many couples are choosing to have divorces later in their lives (and often later in their marriages). Such divorces are often referred to as “gray divorces,” and they are on the rise in California. Typically, these gray divorces involve children that are adults. These children, as adults, are fully aware of the situation of the divorce, unlike divorces that happen with younger children who are usually too young to understand the implications of divorce. However, despite there being understanding by older children, it is important to handle a gray divorce in a proper way so that even adult children are not affected negatively by the divorce.
It is important to not be hostile towards the other parent in gray divorces — or any divorce for that matter. Oftentimes one parent bad-mouthing the other parent can strain the relationship that a parent shares with their children. Such examples could be one parent criticizing their ex-spouse’s new love interest, or their physical appearance or weight gain. These situations can cause adult children to have negative feelings towards one or both spouses, and consequently, a troubled relationship with their parents.
It is also important to not make children the subject of any divorce — putting them in the middle of a divorce could ruin their lives, no matter if they are young or older. Experts suggest that cooperative parenting be practiced — two parents should put their differences aside when handling matters with their children. This can help children grow and flourish, and not be weighed down by the effects of a divorce. This applies to young children as well as adult children in gray divorces. Children should never be a victim of the divorce process between two parents, and children’s time with their parents should not be interrupted or obstructed because of the divorce. Experts argue that there should be a good flow of communication between children and their parents, regardless of whether or not the parents of those children are divorced.
Adult children, unlike younger children, have a deeper understanding of the intricacies of something complex like a divorce, and also can have more insight on the romantic lives of their parents. Because of this, parents should not overindulge their children in the details of their divorce. Experts argue they should keep it simple to keep their relationship with their children healthy. Overindulgence in divorce details can put a great deal of pressure on adult children, who have lives of their own to live. Additionally, personal details of a divorce can make children uncomfortable, especially around their parents, who they may feel resentment or anger towards. It is important to set boundaries — healthy boundaries that can help ease the transition into divorce and a two-household family. Adult children, even while they might have a better understanding of how divorces work, are often not emotionally prepared to hear the intricate and private details of their parents’ divorce or romantic lives. Experts believe parents should keep these details to lawyers, close friends, and therapists — not their own children.
It’s no secret that even adult children can be negatively affected by their parents divorcing. Divorce will almost certainly change the dynamic for children who are so accustomed to knowing their parents as a married couple. These adult children may experience emotional strain, deteriorated relationships with their parents, or unneeded complexity in their lives. Of course, no solution fits all families, and not all divorce situations are alike. However, some fundamental measures should be taken to ensure that a healthy post-divorce family exists. These measures include embracing healthy boundaries, not overindulging in details of a divorce, having respect for the other parent, and finding support from outside the family. Taking these measures can help protect children from being the victim of a divorce they likely did not participate in and did not ask for. Children should always be made the first priority in ensuring a healthy post-divorce — no matter if they are young or old.
IRWIN & IRWIN Family Law is located in Fullerton, California. We provide a full suite of family law services from divorce litigation, divorce mediation, child custody issues, domestic violence restraining orders, support orders and serving as minor’s counsel in court. “Every situation is different and some come with very complex financial issues. Our legal team is here to support you during a very troubling time and prepare you for court, or to at least mediate the issues out to establish a legal resolution,” says Kelly Irwin. To book an appointment click HERE.