Compassionately Guiding Clients Through Divorce And Estate Planning

How to make your divorce easier for your adult children

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | Divorce

Maybe you and your spouse dreamed of retiring to Arizona for decades. Now that you’ve lived the reality of being at home alone together day in and day out, you realize you need to go your separate ways to be happy. 

Whether this is your exact scenario or not, a lot of older couples are divorcing. With people living longer and healthier lives, they realize they don’t want to spend the next few decades with someone with whom they’re constantly fighting or no longer have anything in common.

Too often, couples who divorce when their children are grown and living their own lives don’t give much if any thought to the effect their break-up will have on them. However, having your parents divorce after many decades together can have a serious effect on a person’s sense of identity and their view of marriage and relationships.

While you can’t completely prevent that, you can avoid some all-too-common mistakes that couples of grown children make when they divorce.

Don’t treat your child as your friend

No matter how close you are to your child and how often you tell people they’re your “best friend,” they aren’t. At the end of the day, they’re your child. They shouldn’t be the person you confide in about all of your spouse’s (their other parent’s) shortcomings. You should be prepared to give them some sense of why you made this decision, but save the details for your friends, siblings and therapist. 

Don’t ask your child to choose a side

No matter how young or old your children are, you shouldn’t disparage your co-parent to them or ask them to side with you over them. Parents often get competitive when their children are old enough to decide whom they want to spend time with. That often results in both becoming estranged from their child. Too many parents still refuse to attend weddings, birthday parties, graduations and other events if their ex is also there. Again, that’s only going to strain if not break your relationship with your child and potentially your grandchildren.

If you can negotiate the terms of your divorce in an amicable manner, possibly even through mediation, you improve the chances of being able to maintain a good co-parenting relationship with your soon-to-be ex. Having sound legal guidance is the first step toward that goal.