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How Parents’ Divorce Affects Adult Children


When couples are struggling with their marriages, many choose to fight it out and wait until their children turn 18 before filing for divorce. After all, they want to stay together for the kids.

But does it really matter how old your children are when you divorce? Does it magically get better once they turn 18? Studies show that shock is a common reaction to the news that parents are divorcing, no matter the age of the adult child. They could be 18, 30, 50, or older. The child’s age makes no difference.

Any time parents divorce, it has a profound impact on the children. It really shakes them up. Their entire life changes in an instant. They may think their family life growing up was nothing but “smoke and mirrors.” Sometimes the older the child is when their parents divorce, the more profoundly they feel loss. They may even view divorce as a disintegration of their family’s history.

This is especially true nowadays in the age of gray divorce. Between 1990 and 2015, the divorce rate for adults over the age of 50 had doubled. It’s expected to triple by 2030.

There are numerous studies about how divorce affects children—children under the age of 18, that is. There’s not a lot of research done on adult children of divorce.

The timing of the divorce can really affect an adult child. They may be dealing with their own stresses, such as getting through college, getting married, or having kids. In some cases, they may think that their parents should have gotten divorced sooner rather than later. That way, their parents would not resent each other so much. Bitterness and anger can really fester over the course of decades.

Interestingly, there are differences in how mothers and fathers react to the divorce. Mothers tend to increase their involvement with their kids, while fathers become less involved with their adult children.

Why Mental Help is Key

When parents divorce, it hits adult children differently. They may be blindsided by the announcement. They are caught off guard and they may feel emotional about the situation.

But adult children are often too hard on themselves. They often think that because they are adults, they should be able to handle the situation better than if they were a little kid. They are often in denial about the situation and how they are feeling. They may be reluctant to talk to friends about the situation.

This is why it is important to get professional help. Speaking to a therapist about the situation can help the adult child process their feelings and move forward.

Seek Legal Help 

Whether your children are 5, 15, or 50 years old, they will be affected by your divorce. It’s always a shock when parents divorce, as it often causes adult children to reflect on their childhood.

Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can guide you through divorce and help your entire family move on. Get the legal help you desire for the best outcome. Contact our office today. Call 954-764-4330 or fill out the online form.



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