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How should you tell your (adult) kids that you’re getting divorced?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | Divorce

So-called “gray” divorces are more common than ever before. The challenges for couples who call it quits when they’re in their 50s, 60s and beyond are often different from the challenges faced by younger couples – except to one significant extent. They still have to find a way to tell their kids what’s about to happen.

If your marriage is over, telling your adult children that you and their other parent are getting a divorce isn’t really any easier than telling younger children. In fact, your adult children may actually have a harder time adjusting to the situation because they aren’t with you all the time to see the signs that a divorce is coming the way that many pre-teen and teens may be. With that said, keeping a few tips in mind can help.

Don’t tell them everything

This is not the time to try to turn your children into your confidants. It’s okay to give them the “big picture” about your divorce, but you do not need to go into detail. Focus on the fact that you are making this decision after careful consideration and reassure your children that it is necessary to preserve (or find) your happiness and well-being.

Do not try to compete

There is no reason to make your divorce about “winning” or “losing” your children’s favor. You do not need to tear down your spouse in their eyes and expose their flaws to make your decision to divorce seem valid. Parenthood is never a competition, so do not make your children feel like they’re forced to choose sides.

Do not immediately introduce anybody new

If you’ve already rejoined the dating scene, that’s okay – but don’t expect your children to be excited about it. It’s better to keep your new romances private until you are sure they’re going to develop into something more. Even then, keep your expectations low; your adult children may be happy for you, but they may not see your new partner as “family” for a long time.

It generally easier to navigate a gray divorce after seeking experienced legal guidance. Making this effort can help you anticipate problems, and find solutions that will keep your life on track, from your relationships with your kids to your finances.