A Gray Divorce Can Have Long-lasting Effects on Adult Children

Gray divorces have been increasing steadily for the last three decades with no signs of it stopping. The children of these older couples are often adults by the time their parents’ marriage ends, but they experience a range of effects, many like those experienced by minor children.

Relationships Are Key

The way that adult children are affected by their parents’ divorce will depend on the relationship the children have with their parents. For those adult children who have a good relationship with both their parents, the divorce might come as a surprise with the accompanying range of emotions as they watch their family unit disintegrate. For those children who have grown distant from their parents, the divorce might not impact them as strongly.

Some adult children have poor relationships with their parents, and they might find that the divorce actually brings them relief. The finalized divorce might also be a chance to start the healing process for a complicated experience that might have started years earlier, particularly if a parent had been emotionally abusive to the children or the children had witnessed this kind of behavior against the other parent.

The Range of Emotions

Similar to minor children, adult children of gray divorce might experience a range of emotions that can change as they work through the process. The emotions they experience might not always be positive, and the process to work through those emotions might take a long time. Some of the emotions experienced by adult children of gray divorce include:

  • Depression and sadness
  • Confusion about the future
  • Fear of the changes and of their parents’ abandonment
  • Rage at their parents for destroying the family
  • Relief that a marriage full of conflict or abuse is ending

Reasons for Gray Divorce

There are many reasons why older couples choose to get divorced. While traditional ones, such as adultery, financial struggles, or abuse, are sometimes present, the factors involved in a gray divorce can often be very specific. Many of them are connected to longer life expectancy as well as societal changes over the years, such as more women joining the workforce.

If you are an older adult considering divorce, a New Jersey family law attorney might be able to explain the process and guide you through it. Some of the factors in gray divorce include:

  • Couples growing apart over the years
  • Spouses losing a common purpose after the children move out
  • Women becoming financially independent
  • Both wanting satisfaction over their long lives

How Adult Children Deal With Gray Divorce

While some adult children are supportive of their parents’ decision to end the marriage, they can still, nonetheless, be affected strongly by the changes the divorce brings. They might feel forced to take sides, afraid to continue the relationship with one of their parents for fear of angering the other parent, or finally feel relief that their parents have taken the step towards ending a struggling marriage. However, it might be difficult for some of these adult children to work through these intense emotions alone. They might seek the assistance of a mental health professional to help them through their journey.

Divorce is a complex process and all involved, from the spouses to their children, even adult children, will be affected. Ensuring that you make the correct decisions during the process and that you can both help yourself and your children deal with the process is important. This is where a New Jersey family law attorney can help.

Finding a family lawyer who understands what families experience during the divorce process can help you focus on your healing and your future. Morgenstern and Rochester might help you through the divorce process. You can call us at (856) 489-6200 to schedule a consultation.