Helping your adult children handle your divorce

There's all sorts of advice out there about how couples should break the news to their children that they are divorcing and how they should remain united as co-parents even when they're no longer together. However, couples often fail to realize that their divorce can be just as difficult to process (if not more so) if their children are already grown and on their own. Further, much of the co-parenting advice given to divorced parents with young kids also applies when the "kids" are adults themselves.

It's often a good idea if you have more than one adult child for both of you to break the news to them together. That way, they're getting the same information and have a chance to ask questions or express their thoughts while you're gathered as a family.

While you may be able to share more details with adult children than you would with younger ones, that doesn't mean that you have to. The important thing is to be honest with them and also to explain what should remain within the family and what they can share with others.

Don't be surprised if they don't take the news well -- particularly if they weren't expecting it. If you've been married for many years, they may have taken for granted that their parents would always be together.

Just as with young children, it's essential to reassure older children that you both still love them and be there for them and their children. It's also important not to put them in the middle of your problems or ask them to take sides. It may be tempting to confide in an adult child about your spouse's failings. However, you're both going to need their love and support, so turning them against your co-parent is a bad idea.

Parental divorce can leave adult children frightened about their own marriages. If the parents they thought would be together forever can break up, so can they. It's crucial to explain that every marriage is unique and that your divorce should give them no reason to doubt their own.

If you need advice in how to talk to your adult children about your divorce, your New York family law attorney can likely recommend some resources for support and advice.

Source: Our Everyday Life, "How to Tell Your Adult Children You Are Divorcing," Amber Keefer, accessed Aug. 29, 2017

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