There is no denying that divorce is on the rise in America. We are constantly bombarded with grim reminders that up to half of marriages end in divorce. We also know that divorce mainly affects children, but a new trend is emerging. An increasing number of older couples are getting divorces, and adult children are also suffering from the breakup of their parents’ marriage.
The trend is relatively new to researchers, who are only now starting to research the effect that divorce has on adult children. Dubbed “gray divorce,” the number of couples who are over 50 and getting divorced have doubled since 1990. Many people think that as an adult, children should be able to avoid pain over a divorce, and it may not affect them as much as a small child going through their parent’s break-up. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be true.
How Does Elder Divorce Affect Adult Children?
The impact of gray divorce can include inconveniences such as not being able to enjoy a family holiday together, which is an emotional time to connect with their parents for some adults. Adults may have more trouble adjusting to meeting their parent’s significant other if one or both parents remarry. Adults share more memories with parents than a younger child, so the impact of losing the status quo can be even more devastating.
When you are an adult suffering from your parent’s divorce, your friends and other relatives may not be sympathetic to you during this time. They may justify their unsympathetic attitude by saying that you do not live with your parents so it should not affect you. Some adult children report unsympathetic therapists who are more used to dealing with children. Without this support, work performance can suffer and family life can become combative, leaving the adult child with external problems and at risk for depression.
Unlike with a younger child, parents may be less willing to shield the adult child from the gritty details of the divorce. They may say bad things about the other parent and reveal personal information that the adult child may find distressing. Finally, the costs involved can spiral: money that may have been saved for a wedding or down payment for a house for you might end up going towards paying for the divorce.
Divorce is emotional for all those involved, whatever the age. That is why at the Men’s Legal Center, our trained attorneys work with you to guide you through the proceedings with respect. We know that this is a difficult time and our professional knowledge is needed to overcome stressful incidents related to divorce. Book a consultation if you are struggling with a divorce case and we will do the best we can to fight for your legal rights and help you protect all members of your family, no matter what their ages.