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To a child, divorce in any family situation can be upsetting and perhaps even life altering, but how do parents tell the family that grandparents are going their separate ways?
The term for American mature couples opting to call it quits is referred to gray divorce, while in the United Kingdom, silver separation is the trending terminology. No matter the terminology, divorce is a hard subject to broach not only for the grandchildren but for the adult children of the couple as well.
If you have recently learned that your parents are divorcing and you would like additional information and resources to approach the situation, the following may be of assistance.
Understanding Gray Divorce
For even the youngest members of the family, the idea of their grandparents opting for separate lives seems disparagingly impossible to fathom. Why would a couple who has built a strong foundation over a lifetime throw in the towel?
Research tends to support that as couples age more gracefully into the golden years, they begin to realize they have a lot of life to give and live resulting in a type of rebellious spirit. Some may have been unhappy in their marriages for years and opt to leave after ensuring the extended family is happy and intact.
Other couples may find that after years of tending to family matters, the incompatibility factor has risen to a non-sustainable level and with adequate financial stability for both spouses involved, staying together is no longer viable.
How to Tell the Grandchildren
Grandparents hold a special place in a grandchild’s heart and learning of a divorce can be devastating and this may very well be one of the hardest hurdles to overcome. This is where the child’s parents need to step in and remind the child that this is a decision made by Grandma and Grandpa and one that needs to be respected. The parents and grandparents should reiterate how much the child is loved and that their grandparents whether together or separate will always remain as such no matter the living arrangements. Although experts believe this may not ring entirely true, the child should truthfully be told that the relationships built may or may not change.
Challenges Facing the Grandparents
Often divorce may bring geographical changes as well as newly established cool relationships with their adult children all ultimately affecting the grandchildren. According to a 2002 Penn State study, divorced grandfathers tend to be the long distance grandparent and one who is less involved with his grandchildren.
Advice for the Gray Divorcees
Divorcing should not initiate an absence of either grandparent from family gatherings, especially when the event involves the grandchildren. With the hope of a mature approach to the situation, the sooner each becomes accustomed to these types of events, the easier it will become for everyone.
As grandparents are often the repositories of many family traditions, some children, and even adult children, mourn the divorce as catastrophically as the death of a grandparent. It is imperative for all involved to remember that divorce brings forth a new beginning for many individuals.
If you are a grandparent who is considering divorce, there may be many important factors which will have to be addressed, such as property and asset division, retirement savings, and other items you and your spouse have accumulated during your years together. With a combined 75 years of legal experience, the Hinsdale family law attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio are dedicated to providing sound legal counsel and representation with integrity and compassion. To learn more about our services, contact us today at 630-920-8855.