Adult Children Of Divorce Face Special Challenges

If you wait until your children are in college to file for divorce, you may think that you are saving your children from the complications and hurt associated with having parents who split. However, studies and research have shown that adult children of parents who divorce also face their own challenges as they acclimate to their parents’ new lives.

While younger children of divorce may find themselves worried about their home life, their security, or their parent’s love, older children of divorce have very different worries and concerns, such as:

•    Whether they need to financially support a divorced parent.
•    Whether their college funds are secure.
•    Whether they might have to house a parent during a divorce.
•    Whether their parents were waiting until their children were adults to divorce.
•    Whether they need to emotionally support their parents.
•    How they will react to or accept their parents’ new love interests.
•    How they will split vacations and visits between parents.
•    Whether they could have prevented a divorce by being more involved in their parents’ lives.
•    Whether divorce is inevitable in their own relationship.

Many parents assume that if their children are grown up and out of the house, they will not be upset about a divorce. However, adult children often feel a growing responsibility for their aging parents and are often filled with stress and anxiety upon hearing that their parents are splitting. In many cases, adult children of divorce are also dealing with their parents’ breakup at the same time that they are concerned with worries in their own lives, including spouses, children, financial issues, and career issues.

What can divorcing parents do to ease the worry and pain of their adult children?

•    Acknowledge their pain. Don’t brush off your children’s emotions and concerns by saying that they aren’t kids anymore.
•    Explain the divorce. Adult children of divorce usually need more information than younger kids regarding why the split is taking place and how life will be after the divorce. Share the details you are comfortable with while avoiding blame and badmouthing.
•    Let them know what you need. Your adult children will immediately be concerned with your financial situation, your living situation, and your emotional health. Be sure to let them know your plan – and let them know what they can do to help. However, if possible, don’t ask for them to drop everything to help you through the process.
Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny