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Grieving the Grey Divorce

With the trend of grey divorce rising in Canada, adult children of long-time married couples are frequently shocked and unprepared for the news of their parents divorcing and separating. Adult children of divorce (ACOD) are a fast growing phenomenon. 

Children often struggle with challenges associated with their parents’ separation, regardless of age. It’s important not to underestimate, or assume, how traumatic a divorce can be for any child. It is often thought that mature offspring will be unaffected by the news of their parents divorce and separation, but a myriad of emotions often plague ACODs like:

  • Guilt; a feeling of responsibility for divorce
  • Anger; questioning and doubting childhood (we’re they staying together just for the kids?)
  • Anxiety; self-doubt, and uncertainty of the future (am I going to get divorced too?)

In addition to experiencing feelings of confusion and sadness, there seems to be little advice for adult children who are navigating through parental divorce. Author, Kasey Edwards, recalls her parents’ divorce in a blog on living through her parents’ late-life divorce; 

“Watching the family home and assets being packed up and fought over shatters your world, no matter how old you are. It was as if my safety net in life had gone. There was no safe refuge, physically or emotionally, that I could run to if I needed it. My parents we so engrossed in their own pain and anger, they no longer had any concern for me, other than as a pawn in their own drama.”

What do you do once you get the news?

  • Expect to feel a range of emotions. Be sure to care for yourself emotionally and physically and don’t let the stress gain the upper hand. 
  • Resist being a mediator to either one of your parents. If they need support and direction, suggest that they visit with a professional counsellor or a family law lawyer that can offer reputable legal advice.
  • Set healthy boundaries with your parents. If you don’t want to hear about their new dating lives, let them know.
  • Do your best to refrain from picking sides, which can be painful especially in scenarios where infidelity is involved. 
  • Get the support you need – if you could benefit from speaking to someone, pursue a support group or counselling and learn to use resources outside of your family. 

At Epstein & Associates we grasp the importance of having knowledgeable legal support during this time of transition. We apply guidance and understanding to each client and are committed to offering unparalleled divorce advice. Choosing the right divorce process for any family can be daunting. 

If your parents or someone else you know is considering a ‘grey divorce’ in the Newmarket, Barrie, Richmond Hill or in the Toronto area, contact one of the Family Law lawyers at Epstein & Associates today. We would be happy to sit down with them to address the unique legal and financial challenges they may face during divorce or separation. Come and meet with a professional divorce lawyer at Epstein & Associates to determine the best plan of action, today.