After twenty, thirty or forty years of marriage, divorce seems like less and less of a possibility – but it happens with surprising regularity. So-called “gray divorces” are more common than ever, reflecting the changing times and changing values in society.
There’s nothing wrong with making a change for the better at any point in your life, even if that means getting a divorce – but telling your adult children about your decision can be tough. Your children have likely grown up seeing you and your spouse as a united team, and this news may come as a shock. Here’s are a few tips:
Plan what you want to say
It’s essential to take some time to prepare what you want to say before you sit down with your adult children. Be clear and concise about the situation and how you and your spouse arrived at the decision to get a divorce. Avoid blaming or pointing fingers at your spouse and focus on your feelings and your own reasons for wanting to end the marriage.
Choose an appropriate time and place
Choose a time and place where you can have a private conversation with your children without interruptions. If possible, arrange for both you and your spouse to be present to present a united front. Avoid telling your children about the divorce during a holiday or a significant event so that you don’t create unnecessarily harsh feelings.
Be honest and straightforward
You don’t need to go into details or overshare, it’s essential to be clear about the decision you’ve made and what it means for the family. Talk about how you and your future ex-spouse intend to handle family functions, like the grandchildren’s birthday parties and major holidays. Don’t give false hopes of reconciliation if there are none.
Express empathy and understanding
Your children may have mixed emotions about the news, including anger, sadness, confusion, and disbelief. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know that you understand how difficult this news can be for them. Offer your support and reassure them that you and your spouse will continue to love and support them through this process.
When long-established couples divorce, the property division process can be particularly complicated, so make sure that you have experienced legal guidance helping you through.