Sep 13, 2007

Divorce Can Be Hard on Extended Family, Too

We all know that divorce is a stressful event for the couple involved, and for their children. But it's not only the people who are directly involved who suffer. A recent New York Times article by Mireya Navarro discusses the book Your Child's Divorce: What to Expect....What You Can Do, by Marsha Temlock, which addresses the issue of adult children's divorce, from their parent's perspective. The Times article notes that parents today are more involved in their children's lives and are themselves living longer and more active lives, and thus it's becoming more common for adult children to have parents to whom they're very much connected--and who thus are very much affected by the divorce of a child.

Parents of divorcing children may find themselves incurring debt to help their children financially, or putting on hold plans to travel, play golf, or simply enjoy their families. Or their lives are turned upside down when a son or daughter needs to move back home, or when they find themselves without recourse when their grandchildren are torn from them in custody battles.

As always, the best thing that a divorcing couple can do is try to keep their divorce as low-conflict as possible. (Divorce mediation is a great option for parents who want to minimize stress and drama.) Children do better if their parents can cooperate. And so do those children's grandparents.

To learn more about how to help your kids through the trauma of a divorce, check out Always Dad: Being a Great Father During & After Divorce, by Paul Mandelstein (Nolo), and Building a Parenting Agreement that Works: How to Put Your Kids First When Your Marriage Doesn't Last, by Mimi E. Lyster (Nolo).