The Impact of Gray Divorce on Children

Divorce among couples over the age of 50 is more common than ever before. While some of this is based on couples getting married for the first time later in life, a lot of it is a change in attitudes about marriage. “Gray divorce,” as a phenomenon, leads to a number of issues that are different from divorce earlier in life. One thing that should not be overlooked, however, is that gray divorce still has an impact on the children of the marriage.

Adult Children Can Still Suffer

The impact of divorce on young children has been studied for decades. People aren’t surprised when a small child struggles with the emotional impact of a divorce. Some people are surprised, however, when adult children have difficulty coping with the breakup of their parents. Having a better understanding of the concept of divorce doesn’t protect children when it comes to their own parents’ marital woes.

Forced to Choose

Younger children generally get no say when it comes to custody and parenting plans. Adult children aren’t subject to these plans, but in many ways that can be harder. Your child can’t be in two places at once. How will it feel to have to choose where to go on Christmas or Thanksgiving? How much effort will it take to maintain two lines of communication, when many grown children have trouble with one?

Blame and Doubt

One issue that can affect older and younger children alike is self-blame. Children often feel responsible for their parents’ divorce. Was there something they could have done differently? If they had been better kids, would the family still be together? Adult children aren’t immune from blaming themselves for the situation.

This can go both ways, however. Your adult child may feel guilty for you having remained in an unhappy marriage for too long. If your spouse is harming you, physically, emotionally or mentally, your child might feel responsible for your decision to stick it out for so long. Whatever their age, it’s important to emphasize your love and support for your children during this difficult time.

Not Your Therapist

Adult children may also end up in the unenviable position of having to play armchair therapist in a situation that already taxes them emotionally. Your divorce may be a shocking or depressing situation for you, but it’s also a struggle for your children. They may not be in any position to serve as a crutch for you when it’s their family breaking apart, too.

Call an Arlington Divorce Attorney Today

A divorce at any age carries serious consequences. You need strong representation from an experienced family law attorney to protect your interests. Call the attorneys of Schneider Law Firm in Arlington at 817-799-7125 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.