Talking to your children about your divorce is never easy. If you have young children, it is natural to worry about how your custody arrangement will impact your relationship with them and how they will process the change in your family. If you have adult children, your concerns might veer more into the territory of worrying about their reactions and how the divorce will impact your relationships with them going forward.
When you have adult children, you do not have the added stresses of child support and child custody orders. You also have the opportunity to be more honest about your divorce when you discuss it with your children and if you have a poor relationship with your spouse, it is far easier to completely remove him or her from your life if you no longer have minor children together.
In some ways, talking to your adult child about your divorce is easier than talking to a young child about it. You can be more honest about why you are divorcing and the changes that are coming, like having to push off retirement because of the financial aspects of your divorce settlement. But talking to your adult child can be more difficult than talking to a young child for the exact same reason why it is easier – because you have to be more honest.
One important thing to remember when you talk to your children about your divorce, no matter how old they are, is that you should always assure them that the divorce is not their fault. Even if you did stay in an unhappy marriage because you did not want to divorce while your children were young, do not tell them this. Do not make them feel responsible for your relationship.
Although your children are grown, you will likely see your former spouse again at future graduations, weddings, parties, and events for your grandchildren. Do not talk badly about your former partner to your children and when these events come up, do what you need to do to keep your feelings about your former spouse from affecting your child’s experience. This might mean keeping to a separate side of the room during a party or choosing to leave early.
Keep in mind that because your child is an adult, the court cannot impose a specific relationship on him or her like it can with a child custody arrangement for a minor. You cannot make your adult child “side” with you over his or her other parent and you cannot make him or she want to have a relationship with your new partner or anybody else. Continue putting effort into maintaining a relationship with your child, and keep in mind that he or she has to put in an effort, too.
Breaking the news of your impending divorce to your children can be difficult no matter how old they are. For advice on how to tactfully discuss the subject with your adult children and legal counsel to start and complete the divorce process, contact Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. to set up your free legal consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer.
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