The rate of divorce amongst couples over the age of 50 has increased significantly – by nearly 109% – over the last two decades.

Many of the couples over 50 pursuing a divorce now have older adult children, who might even have families of their own. This eliminates the need for divorcing spouses to negotiate a child custody agreement. However, it does not mean that a parents’ divorce will not impact adult children at all.

How could divorce affect adult children?

Even if adult children sensed tension in their parents’ marriage, a divorce can still come as quite a shock to them. And it is critical that divorcing parents do not overlook the effect a divorce could have on their kids – even if they are adults.

The effect will naturally be different than it is for younger children, but parents should be aware that a divorce could still affect the parent-child relationship they have with their adult children. This relationship changes when children mature and become adults, but a parent will always be a parent.

Divorce can strain this relationship, as a parents’ divorce often leads adult children to:

  • Question their childhood memories with their parents, and perhaps even their current family relationships;
  • Be more involved in the divorce. Adult children often find it difficult not to take sides or try to help their parents through the divorce proceedings; and
  • Feel significant emotional stress.

Just like children of any age, adult children will need time to adjust to the significant change a divorce can bring into their life, especially when it comes to family gatherings and holidays.

Simply because one’s child is an adult does not mean a divorce will not impact them. Although parents of adult children are not dealing with custody issues such as dividing time with their children, it is still beneficial to consider the best interests of the whole family when pursuing a divorce.