When parents divorce later in life, they may not have child custody arrangements to work out, but that does not mean considerations involving children are off the table. Parents with adult children may face a number of complications that should be addressed with care.
Hard feelings are inevitable
Middle-aged children whose parents are divorcing report a number of difficulties, including feelings of worry, regret and isolation. Supportive relationships are crucial in helping people navigate such hard feelings. While adult children may see their parents’ divorce as a time to step up and be supportive, it is important that they do not neglect their own well-being during this complex transition.
Alliances may form
Divorcing parents usually take special care to protect minor children from feeling they need to take sides, and if parents don’t, the law does. Adult children are in a different position, however, and may feel compelled to lean one way or the other. With siblings, friends and the extended family also involved, sharp lines may form and threaten the very fabric of the family.
Estate planning complications may arise
One legal issue that often goes hand-in-hand with a later-in-life divorce is the need to revise an estate plan. Plans made while the marriage was healthy may no longer reflect the present-day reality. When someone is left out and someone else included after a divorce, it is natural for the entire family, including adult children, to feel the repercussions.
Communication and planning can help
There is no easy way to navigate these issues, but parents can help everyone involved by being forthright and addressing problems rather than sweeping them under the rug. In the same vein, addressing legal problems proactively can help keep them relatively small rather than swell into full-blown disputes that pull the family into expensive litigation.