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How to Talk to Your Adult Kids About Your NY Divorce

by | Sep 5, 2023 | Divorce Long Island, NY

Getting a divorce later in life can be particularly challenging, especially when you consider all the additional assets that come with being more established in life. Things like jointly owned property, home businesses, and retirement plans can really complicate a divorce later in life.

With all of these issues, there is unfortunately one thing that often gets put on the back burner during divorces of this sort: talking to adult children about the divorce. Many couples who have already raised their children think that a divorce won’t affect their children since they’re grown and have their own lives.

But emotions can still run high for your adult children, so it’s important to break the news gently and support them through the process. Here’s how to talk to your older children about your upcoming divorce and where to get qualified legal assistance you can trust.

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Break The News of Your Divorce in a Private Setting

For many families, it’s tradition to break bad news to other people in public, perhaps over dinner at the person’s favorite restaurant. This supposedly discourages emotional outbursts, but being in public when receiving heartbreaking information can be uncomfortable and frightening. You aren’t guaranteed a calm response either.

It’s better to give the news of your upcoming divorce to your adult children in a private setting, such as the family home or while on a secluded nature walk. If your kids get emotional or even angry, it’s usually easier to manage when you’re at home or someplace where it’s just you and your family.

Give Your Children Time to Process the News of Your Divorce

Many older couples getting what’s known as a “gray divorce” don’t expect their children to be as affected as they would be if they were much younger. When adult kids become upset or distraught over their parents’ divorce, many older couples are shocked and unsure what to do next. They often don’t expect a strong reaction since things like child custody, visitation, and financial support aren’t an issue.

The best thing you can do after giving the news of your divorce to your older children is to give them time to come to terms with it. For them, a fundamental building block of their life and identity is being challenged.

Even though custody battles won’t be on the table, your child will still need to come to terms with the fact that their parents no longer love each other or want to be together. Don’t expect them to bounce back from the news quickly and try to show compassion if your children are hurt, frustrated, or even very angry.

Allow Kids to Maintain Whatever Relationship They Want With Your Spouse

Whether your kids are young or out of the house, it’s best for them to maintain a healthy and meaningful relationship with both of their parents. Avoid talking to them about the divorce or what you think your spouse did “wrong” to end the marriage. Be careful not to influence their thoughts or opinions about the other parent, regardless of how significant those issues are to you or how deeply they impact you.

This is often a little easier with adult rather than younger children, since you don’t have to facilitate custody and visitation schedules. Your kids can go see their other parent on their own time and can use their own vehicle or public transportation. You won’t have to communicate with your ex about where your children are or when they’ll be brought back, which can help make the divorce process easier.

Get Qualified Legal Assistance for Your New York Divorce

If you’re getting a divorce from your spouse later in life, or even if you’re just considering the possibility, it’s in your best interests to reach out for legal help as soon as possible. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we have the experience to provide you with comprehensive legal representation throughout your divorce process, from having your spouse served with the divorce petition to fighting for the property and spousal support you deserve.

Call our office today for more information about getting a divorce when you have adult children or to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss the details of your specific case. Contact us now by dialing 631-923-1910 or by filling out the short form on this page. We have the skills and expertise needed to help you navigate the difficult process of dissolving your marriage and will guide you through each step with care, compassion, and experience.

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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.

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