Divorce Can Be a Rough Transition for Parents and Grandparents, Agrees Fairfax Divorce Attorney
Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 23, 2013 – One-third of adult homeowners now are living with their aging parent or adult child.
Many of those adult children moved back “home” post-divorce. According to author Marsha Temlock’s new book, “Your Child’s Divorce: What to Expect – What You Can Do,” this is an all-too-common scenario.
Adults who are put in the position of comforting and supporting their newly-split adult child may have some difficulty adjusting, says Temlock. “Divorce can be a transition for everyone in the family, not just the split couple,” agrees Fairfax divorce lawyer Lisa McDevitt. “Family members are sometimes placed in a position where they must offer extensive emotional and financial support to help them get back on their feet.”
Temlock suggests several ways to make the transition period go as smoothly as possible. Parents and the adult child can sit down and decide ahead of time what the timeline is for the stay. How long will the child be back home? How much flexibility is there? Does the staying (and leaving) depend on finding a new job or making some other huge life change that is at least partially out of their hands? Or is this a shorter-term recovery stay, with a natural shelf life?
How will household duties be approached? Who does chores, who pays expenses, and how do schedules mesh and clash? The more specifics that are worked out ahead of time, the less chance there is for misunderstanding and resentment.
Marie Hartwell-Walker, a licensed psychologist, marriage and family therapist, has written about the struggles faced by the grandparents of children who divorce. She has several tips which apply for parents, as well. She says to avoid escalating the conflict between the two parties.
Parents and grandparents should stay out of any difficult issues between the spouses, and avoid offering advice. Advice can backfire, and choices based on advice can go badly. Offer general support and guidance, Hartwell-Walker says, and leave the specifics to the people in the actual marriage. Use this time to be calm, patient, and tactful when everyone needs it the most.
Lisa Lane McDevitt
2155 Bonaventure Drive
Vienna, VA 22181
Toll Free: 866-602-7850
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