How Healthy Coparenting Benefits Families of Gray Divorce
How Families of Gray Divorce Benefit From Healthy Co-parenting
As more couples in the United States reach their golden years, they are increasingly opting for a “gray divorce” — that is, a divorce after age 50. The nature of gray divorce may lead families to believe that co-parenting is no longer necessary, but this is not the case. In fact, the benefits of a healthy co-parenting relationship in these cases may be even greater than for couples who divorce earlier in life.
What Healthy Co-parenting Looks Like
In simple terms, healthy co-parenting is when divorced parents work together to provide an environment where their children—minors and adults alike—can thrive.
Healthy co-parenting involves setting aside the hostility that may have been present during the divorce proceedings and attempting to maintain a civil relationship. Parents must develop a sense of mutual respect to truly achieve this type of relationship. That means that even if they don’t agree on every single issue, they should strive to remain civil and use respectful language when discussing matters related to their children.
Effective communication is key to any healthy co-parenting dynamic. Parents should discuss plans for holidays, vacations, and other big events well in advance so that everyone can be on the same page and make appropriate plans. Both parents should also remain involved in decisions regarding their children’s education, health care, and other consequential matters that come up when dependent children are involved.
Cooperation and compromise are also essential to healthy co-parenting, so parents should be flexible when their children’s needs arise even if those needs conflict with their own preferences and plans. In some cases, this might mean splitting holidays and other family events so that both parents have the opportunity to spend time with their children and grandchildren during special occasions. The needs of the family should come first in these situations, and healthy parents will work toward that common goal by taking the initiative to meet in the middle when possible.
Why Co-parenting Shouldn’t End When You Divorce Later in Life
Conventional co-parenting advice and legal strategies implemented by divorce lawyers tend to revolve around the needs of minor children. After all, it is those children who are most directly affected by the divorce of their parents. Parents also have more influence—and often more control—over the lives of their minor children, making it vital for them to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship. This dynamic looks very different when older couples divorce and children are grown, but co-parenting still has a place in these families.
To understand why, it’s important to acknowledge the many ways in which adult children can be affected by their parents’ divorce. The emotions and issues that arise are often different, but they can be just as powerful. Whether they are in college or have already started a career and families of their own, adult children of gray divorce still experience a type of loss when their parents part ways. The life they once knew and the family connections that they took for granted may be drastically changed.
Older couples also tend to serve as a beacon for their adult children’s marriages and relationships. When parents divorce later in life, it may challenge their adult children’s ideas about the permanence of marriage and give them cause to question the longevity of their own unions. A hostile divorce can also create a lasting rift between families, leaving adult children feeling uncertain about their own relationships with each parent.
In addition, adult children often take on additional responsibilities when their parents divorce after a lifetime of marriage. They may become caretakers, mediators, or financial advisors as these two new families are formed. When their parents fail to take a collaborative approach to co-parenting, adult children may be forced to assume a greater role in managing parental matters, which can put a strain on them.
There are also logistical issues that adult children may have to contend with in the wake of their parents’ divorce. In some cases, adult children may be asked to choose between two families’ holidays and celebrations. This can have a ripple effect on any grandchildren involved who may feel torn between two sets of grandparents and other family members.
Perhaps above all else, older couples are often the glue that holds extended families together — and when they get divorced, their descendants may feel as though the family has lost its center. Older children may feel the need to step in and fill this void as the family’s anchor. This can be an overwhelming burden to take on, especially when they have families of their own.
Benefits of Healthy Co-parenting for Families of Gray Divorce
When both parents commit to a peaceful, respectful relationship with one another, it sets a powerful example not just for their adult children and grandchildren but also for the next generations in the family tree. This type of behavior can help demonstrate that even when things don’t go according to plan people can still come together in a way that is healthy and beneficial for all involved.
Healthy co-parenting can also give a sense of stability to adult children and grandchildren, which may have otherwise been lost in the divorce. When parents are willing to compromise and respect each other, it reduces the amount of stress that their children may experience as they juggle family obligations between two households.
Moreover, healthy co-parenting allows families to remain connected. This can be especially true for extended family members who may not have been as closely involved during the marriage. By putting aside their differences, divorced parents can create an atmosphere that allows all of their children and grandchildren to remain close.
Finally, healthy co-parenting makes it easier for parents to divide responsibilities in a way that meets the needs of everyone involved. This could mean sharing financial obligations or taking turns at family events and special occasions. This can result in a more equitable distribution of resources and responsibilities and can help to prevent any type of power imbalance between two households.
All these benefits add up to one very important fact: When parents strive for effective co-parenting after a gray divorce, it can make life easier and more enjoyable for their children and grandchildren. Improved communication, compromise, respect, and cooperation provide the foundation for a strong family that’s divided but never disconnected, and it’s worth the effort to make it happen. In the end, healthy co-parenting benefits everyone in the family—and that’s something worth striving for.
If you’re considering a gray divorce, now is the time to set the stage for a healthy co-parenting arrangement. One of the best ways to do this is to enlist the assistance of a qualified divorce lawyer early in the process. Your lawyer can provide you with helpful information about divorce, division of assets, estate planning, and more. Start the conversation today and open the door to a healthier future for your entire family by contacting the Law Office of Kelly Berton Rocco in Hackensack, New Jersey, at 201-343-0078.