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How a divorce impacts adult children

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Family Law |

Divorce impacts adult children in various ways. Many people assume that older children handle their parents’ separation better than younger ones.

However, adult children also experience significant emotional and psychological effects.

Feelings of loss and instability

According to the CDC, the divorce rate in Arizona is 2.3 per 1,000 couples. One major impact of divorce is the feeling of loss and instability. Adult children often feel a sense of security in their parents’ marriage. When this relationship ends, it can shatter their perception of family stability. This loss can lead to feelings of sadness, confusion and anger.

Dealing with divided loyalties

Another effect is the challenge of dealing with divided loyalties. Adult children may feel torn between their parents. They might worry about taking sides or feel guilty for maintaining a relationship with one parent over the other. This situation becomes more complicated during family gatherings or holidays, where the tension between parents can make the children feel uncomfortable and stressed.

Financial responsibilities

The financial aspect of divorce also affects adult children. Parents who divorce later in life may face financial difficulties, which can lead to changes in the family’s financial dynamics. Adult children might feel obligated to provide financial support to one or both parents. This new responsibility can create stress and anxiety, especially if they are not in a stable financial position themselves.

Changes in extended family dynamics

Divorce can also alter the dynamics of the extended family. Relationships with relatives such as grandparents, aunts and uncles might change as a result of the separation. Adult children may find themselves navigating new family structures and dynamics, which can be emotionally taxing.

Impact on relationship views

The way adult children view relationships and marriage can change. Witnessing their parents’ divorce may lead them to question the stability and longevity of their own relationships. They might fear commitment or feel uncertain about the future of their romantic partnerships.

Changes in communication patterns

Communication patterns between parents and adult children often change after a divorce. Some children may become closer to one parent while distancing themselves from the other. This shift can affect the overall family cohesion and lead to feelings of isolation or exclusion.

When an older couple with adult children decides to divorce, they must be careful in how they deal with their offspring.