Divorcing when your children are grown, out of the house and living their own lives can be simpler is many ways than making that move when your children are still minors. There’s no child support or custody agreement and parenting plan to worry about.
Parental divorce can still be difficult, and even traumatic, for adults. That’s especially true when a couple has been together and seemingly happy for decades.
It’s crucial to be careful with your children’s feeling about your break-up, regardless of their age. It’s also important not to forget that you’re still the parents and they’re still your children. Too often, these roles get blurred or even reversed in divorce. Here are three common mistakes to avoid:
1. Don’t overshare
Just because your child is old enough to understand how relationships can fall apart, that doesn’t mean they should hear the details of what went wrong with yours. You can tell them in general terms, but save the details for your therapist, close friends and other family members.
2. Don’t ask your child to take sides
No divorcing parent should ever disparage their soon-to-be-ex to their child, no matter how old they are. You don’t have a custody order that dictates how much time your child will spend with each of you. That’s up to them to decide.
If you spend all of that time complaining about their other parent, you’ll probably see less of them. You also don’t want to be those parents that put their kids in the position of only being able to invite one of them to a wedding, graduation, grandchild’s birthday party or another event.
3. Don’t turn your child into your parent
It can be challenging for long-married people to suddenly find themselves living alone. Your child may offer to help both of you do things you aren’t used to doing now that you’re on your own. However, that doesn’t mean you should be calling them for help every time you need to do the laundry or figure out why your checking account is overdrawn. It’s important to build a support system that doesn’t center around your child.
If you have experienced legal guidance during your divorce, you will be in the best possible position to begin this new phase of your life.