The impact of gray divorce on adult children

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Divorce

When Pennsylvania couples split up after the age of 50, this is sometimes referred to as a “gray divorce.” While parents of older and adult children might assume that the divorce will have less impact on their kids than if they were younger, this is not always the case.

Unwanted change

Older children who are still living at home may only have a year or two left there, but a split can still be traumatic for them, and parents will still need to work out issues around child custody and support. However, children do not have to be living with their parents to feel the impact of divorce. Whether they are in college or well-established in their adult lives, their parents’ divorce can still cause an enormous upheaval. It can change the tenor of vacations and holidays as well as major life events, such as graduations, birthdays and weddings.

Needs of adult children

Parents who might have been more sensitive to the needs of their young children in a divorce may forget that they should focus on the needs of their adult children as well. When it comes to important events in the lives of their children, they need to set aside their differences just as they would in order to coparent young kids. In addition, even adults may need to hear that their parents still love them and will remain involved in their lives.

Finding balance

In some cases, a gray divorce can mean exiting a marriage that was unhappy for many years. Parents may be overwhelmed with elation that the marriage is finally over or bitterness that they stayed as long as they did, but they should not let this damage their relationship with their children no matter how old they are. For adult children, divorce can still represent a loss of family. When parents make an effort to be civil with one another at shared events and continue to maintain a relationship with adult children, the loss may become easier for the children to navigate.