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Tips for handling your adult child's divorce

There's a lot of advice to help divorcing parents support their children through the transition. However, what if it's your young adult who is divorcing?

As a parent, it's only natural to feel sad. You may even feel some guilt -- particularly if you weren't aware that there were problems in the marriage. However, kids often keep their marital problems from their parents -- particularly if they don't live nearby. Some people feel that an adult child's divorce somehow reflects on their parenting. However, there's a limit to how much guilt parents should feel about their adult children's relationship problems.

If your child and his or her spouse are divorcing, you can make things easier on everyone by being as supportive as possible, regardless of your own feelings about the break-up. If there are kids involved, you can focus on helping them by providing some extra attention, someone to talk to and a place to stay for a night or two if things are chaotic at home.

However, grandparents need to keep whatever negative feelings they have toward their child's spouse to themselves. If you want to remain part of your grandkids' lives, the last thing you want to do is alienate your son- or daughter-in-law.

It may be tempting to side with your child against the soon-to-be ex. However, it's best to stay as neutral as possible, particularly when there are kids. That person's going to be in your life potentially forever. It's best to stay on good terms. Besides, divorce is rarely the fault of solely one person. There's likely not a "good guy" and "bad guy."

It's important to maintain some boundaries between your life and your child's during this time. Sometimes kids will move back in with their parents for awhile after divorce. However, it's not good for adult children to once again become dependent on their parents after divorce.

Let your child handle the legal aspects of the divorce by him/herself with the help of his or her attorney. Don't help your child hide money or do anything else that could ultimately cause legal problems and make things worse. As long as your child has an experienced Arizona family law attorney, you can and should stay out of the divorce.

Source: LiveAbout, "What to Do If Your Millennials Divorce," Sharon Greenthal, accessed June 12, 2018

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