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What can I as a parent of a divorcing child do to help?

Lots of books and seminars offer guidance to help couples get through divorce. There's not much out there to help parents of divorcing offspring know what they should do, however. Just as no two divorce situations in Louisiana are exactly alike, the same is true for the answer to the question of how parents can best help their adult children as they go through a dissolution. Should you swoop in or should you stand back? The answer is that it depends on the circumstances.

At the very least, and especially if there are grandchildren who will be affected, it wouldn't hurt to encourage your son or daughter to find experienced legal counsel that he or she can trust to help sort out what can be a long list of complicated issues.

Beyond that, here are thoughts on dos and don'ts from some who have been through the experience.

DO

Be a steady physical and emotional support. Remember that every relationship has two players. There are two sides to every story and you may never get details from both sides.

If there are grandchildren and you are part of their lives, keep routines as close to normal as possible. If you get a call for help from your now-single parent, help as you can. If you have a good relationship with the other parent, try to maintain it.

Providing a roof for your adult child might be helpful, but it shouldn't be done without clear rules. Experts tend to agree that setting terms for rent, chores and even a move out deadline is a good idea.

Be prepared to grieve.

DON'T

Getting involved in the divorce proceedings is risky. If you are invited into the process, that's another story. You might have cause to get involved yourself if you have a financial stake in the outcome -- maybe due to a co-signed loan or a joint business venture.

You shouldn't be surprised if your adult child gets upset through the process. Divorce isn't easy. It can trigger anger and other emotions. Take the moods in stride and try not to take them personally.

If friends or relatives ask about the divorce, keep answers short. It is a good idea to speak with your child and perhaps the ex to be sure you all are on the same page about what should be said.

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