In today’s post, we share more about the potential worries of adult children when their parents decide to divorce as seniors. In our last posting, we talked about:
- Challenging feelings that can come up for these adult kids
- Loss of family traditions
- Concerns about elderly parents suddenly living alone
These worries can be immense and can hit adult children at a time when they are also raising their own offspring, who could be in challenging life stages like preschool, early adolescence or high school, facing decisions about what path to take after graduation. Adult children of divorce can face overwhelming concern about their divorcing parents at a time when their own kids might need significant support, and the adult children may also need to work, leaving little time and energy for self-care.
As we said in our last post, adult children in this position can benefit from discussing their family situation with friends and family, if appropriate people are available, and likely from professional therapy.
For some families, the prospect of senior parents divorcing (or even just separating) and setting up separate households presents significant financial concerns. While as a couple in the same home the parents may be financially sound, a different situation may present itself if they are not wealthy as they face creating two homes.
Adult kids may wonder if they will have to have a parent in this situation move in with them or even if the adult children will need to support a parent financially. Even short of that, adult children may need to realistically adjust expectations of eventual inheritance, since the assets of their parents will be stretched much thinner during their parents’ lifetimes.
For an adult child paying college bills for their own children, the prospect of inheritance loss can mean postponing their own retirements or tightening the family belt in other ways. An adult child in this situation should seek advice from a financial planner.
Florida Today encourages adult kids to see that their parents also get appropriate professional financial guidance in divorce as decisions are made about property division and alimony. Of course, an experienced family lawyer is important, but other experts are also like financial planners, appraisers and tax advisors.
Everyone’s mental health
Of course, when an elder divorces, he or she may face depression or anxiety from the stress of the split, even if divorce is the right choice. Naturally, their adult kids will worry about their parents’ ability to handle this when living alone.
Coming full circle, it may also be important for adult children to gently push their own parents into counseling or therapy for support during and after the divorce process. The emotional stability of the parents is crucial not only for the parents themselves, but also for the peace of mind of the adult kids.