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When the kids are not all right

At first glance, the adult children of divorcing parents in Tampa, Florida, may seem better equipped to cope with the situation than younger children. Such an upheaval of the family is stressful at any time of life, however, and it is important for older parents to remember that grown children are still highly affected by divorce, even if issues of custody, support and visitation are no longer at stake.

Gray divorce—that is, divorce of spouses who are over the age of 50—has doubled since 1990, as reported by U.S. News & World Report. In many of these cases, the children are out of the home and leading their own lives, but some are still receiving financial support from their parents. Such support may be stretched thin if the divorce proceedings lead to diminished funds, and it is usually excluded from the divorce agreement. By maintaining open, positive lines of communication with their children, divorcing parents can not only address this issue but also help children understand and come to terms with the separation.

FloridaToday notes that such communication can also ease the burden adult children may feel when their parents divorce. In addition to being upset about the divorce itself, grown children also may be faced with the sudden responsibility of providing financial support or care for one or both senior parents, perhaps while trying to raise families of their own.

Though older couples going through divorce should share information about the process with their children, they should also keep in mind that those children will probably want to maintain close ties to both parents. Oversharing and negative communication about the ex-spouse can complicate familial relationships all around, so it is a good idea for children to establish and firmly maintain boundaries in regard to their involvement with their parents’ separation.

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