Grandchildren have special relationships with their grandparents.
When grandparents divorce in what is called by many divorce lawyers as a gray divorce, it is important to understand how it can affect grandkids.
Though gray divorce is fairly under-recognized, it can be especially emotional since it can affect multiple generations.
To make the situation easier on everyone involved, divorce attorneys recommend that divorcing grandparents and their children consider the emotions of the grandchildren during this process and be supportive to them as well.
What Is Gray Divorce?
The term gray divorce refers to a divorce happening later in life between two older adults who have children and possibly grandkids as well as great-grandchildren.
In most cases, these divorces are like any other; however, divorce lawyers do find that in some instances when there are close-knit extended families involved, it is the grandkids who can have a very difficult time dealing with it.
How Are Families Affected By Gray Divorce?
One of the reasons why gray divorces can be so significant in some families is because they can shake the emotions of three different generations.
Divorce attorneys have observed that not only are the children of older divorcing parents emotionally affected but so are their children.
Grandchildren who have grown up forming relationships with grandparents and learned to value certain family traditions as well as special vacation and holiday time spent with grandparents can become stressed over the loss of this comfortable family relationship.
Younger grandkids may have difficulty dealing with family gatherings and family visits without the presence of both grandparents, especially if that time together has always been something the kids have looked forward to.
It can be a scary and stressful time for them, similar to when the parents of young children divorce.
What is even more interesting is how studies have revealed that grandkids born after the divorce of their grandparents can still be indirectly affected by the emotional strain of parents whose own parents are no longer married.
Essentially, whether it is a new divorce happening in their lifetime or an older event that affects the family dynamic in certain ways, kids do feel the emotional effect of gray divorce more than one might anticipate.
How Can Grandchildren Be Helped During A Gray Divorce?
Experienced family law and divorce lawyers who have helped with multi-generational situations like gray divorces stress that an effective way to help grandkids through it is being aware that they are also affected.
Parents and grandparents alike should explain to grandchildren what is happening while stressing that they are not the cause of things nor have they done anything wrong.
General reasons for the divorce can be explained, leaving any ugliness out.
Each individual grandparent can then create new relationship dynamics, new traditions, and new memories with grandkids as well as their adult children to keep the feelings of family as intact as possible.
Attorneys suggest that parents be careful about voicing their own disapproval of any situations in front of their children to keep tensions minimal within the three-generational relationship.
Keep Grandkids Informed
Gray divorces can be surprising and stressful for everyone in the family and divorce lawyers find that it can be especially traumatic to younger grandkids if there is an especially close bond with their grandparents, who are frequently viewed as two parts making up the whole of a special part of the family.
Through careful sharing with kids about the reasons for the divorce and then encouraging the continuation of relationships in slightly different ways, divorce attorneys see many of their older divorcing clients go on to maintain and even deepen the relationships with their grandchildren.
The most important factor to remember is how gray divorce affects many more than just the older couple themselves.
Schreier & Housewirth Family Law
1800 West Bowie Street, Suite 200-E
Fort Worth TX 76110
Gregory L. Housewirth is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist practicing in Fort Worth Texas. With 30 years of family law experience, Mr. Housewirth has represented hundreds of clients in divorce, custody, CPS, modification, and grandparent cases. In addition, Mr. Housewirth is a qualified family law mediator and a member of Collaborative Law Texas, a practice group dedicated to promoting collaborative divorce in Texas.