Over the last several weeks, we have discussed the common issues that parents of minor children are likely to encounter when getting divorced, focusing on the differing effects on different age groups, including infants and toddlers, elementary-aged children, and teenagers. Adult children, meaning those at least 18 years old, can also be impacted by their parents’ divorce. While you may not need to address matters like child support and parenting time for your adult children, you should still consider how the process and outcome will affect them.
How Does Divorce Affect Adult Children?
With the increasing prevalence of “gray divorce,” a term for a divorce that happens when the spouses are at least 50 years old, many adult children are faced with the prospect of a huge and unexpected change in their family life. Unlike younger children, adults will not have to cope with changes to their daily routine due to divided parenting time. However, the divorce can affect everything from communication with each parent to holiday plans to relationships with grandchildren.
Divorce can also take an emotional toll on adult children, who may be forced to reconcile with the fact that the family dynamic they have become accustomed to throughout their childhood and beyond will never be the same. Adult children can also find themselves stuck in the middle between two parents who expect them to take a side, or they may feel anger and resentment toward a parent whose behavior seems to have caused the divorce. Parents may be able to prevent some of the worst effects by resolving their divorce amicably, but even so, it is important to communicate with your adult children and possibly even encourage them to join you in family therapy.
Legal Issues Affecting Adult Children in an Illinois Divorce
In some cases, an adult child could be an important factor in a divorce resolution. This is especially true for parents of young adults who are pursuing higher education or vocational training. In Illinois, parents may be ordered to share the costs of their children’s continuing education at least until they reach the age of 23, so you may need to prepare to work out a fair arrangement with your spouse.
If you are getting a divorce later in life, estate planning may also be a major concern for your adult children. It may be important to update your estate plan after a divorce to focus on your children rather than your former spouse. If you intend to get remarried, you might also consider a prenuptial agreement that protects some of your assets for the purposes of bestowing them to your children and grandchildren.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney
It is clear that divorce can affect parents and children of all ages, and the most important issues largely depend on your life stage and your family’s personal situation. If you have questions about the divorce process and how your children may be affected, contact Davi Law Group today at 630-580-6373. Our experienced DuPage County family lawyers are available for a free initial consultation.