No matter what age or what stage, divorce affects a family. Today, divorce is more common than ever among older adults. Even though their children are grown, divorce can cause family tension. Here are some tips for maintaining good relationships with your grown children during and after a divorce.
Don’t Assume That Just Because They’re Grown, This Doesn’t Affect Them
Just because your children are out of the house, doesn’t mean the divorce doesn’t affect them. Don’t forget that you’re still Mom and Dad to your kids.
When you tell your adult children about the divorce, get the whole family together. Doing it in person is best rather than over the phone. If you can’t meet in person, Skype can be an acceptable alternative. At least, your children can see your facial expressions, and you will be better able to read your children’s responses.
Try to have both parents present during the conversation. Agree about what you are going to stay and stick to the script. It’s a good idea to spare them some of the gory details. However, you will still need to be honest when they ask questions about the details. Because they are adults, they will likely ask adult questions. Plan how you might answer questions about tricky subjects like infidelity and substance abuse.
Don’t Ask Your Children to Choose
It can be tempting for one parent to make the announcement first or to confide in the children as if they were friends – essentially asking the children to choose one parent over another. In the long run, this is a poor idea. Children – even adult children – are hardwired to love both parents. Asking children to choose can taint positive family memories of the past. It also creates unnecessary strife going forward.
Agree in Advance About Special Events, Like Weddings and Baptisms
While your children are grown, you’ll likely still be called on to attend many family events. Divorced parents must still navigate weddings, the birth of grandchildren, baptisms and birthdays. Talk with your ex about how to handle these events before they happen. If you both agree to be civil at your children’s weddings, for example, you will feel less stressed on the big day. Agreeing to celebrate separately can reduce stress, too. There’s no one right answer for every family.
Get Help From a Divorce Lawyer
Of course, it is easier to maintain a positive relationship with your adult children after a divorce when matters go relatively smoothly and when you feel at peace with the outcome. It can be challenging, but the best way to ensure that happens is to work with an experienced attorney. Contact the Law Offices of V. Wayne Ward in Fort Worth today to get the help you deserve.
Sources: There’s a lot of good information around the web on this topic, including https://www.nextavenue.org/how-tell-your-adult-children-youre-divorcing/ and https://www.aarp.org/relationships/family/info-2006/way_they_were.html