If divorce is all about the money and the kids then when the kids are all grown up, is it just about the money, isn't it? No, it is absolutely not! Your grown up kids are very much affected by their parent's divorce.
Divorce is for everyone but it can be damaging
Divorce is very much an ‘anytime in your life' event. The over 50s are now leading the way in the divorce stakes and adult children (and their children) are facing the fallout of a late in life divorce.
There are always going to be problems of collateral damage just as there are from dropping lots of bombs from a B52. In a divorce this is clearly at its greatest when young children are involved. For them there are the problems of residency, parental access and a whole host of practical considerations around trying to make their lives as OK as possible.
The effect of divorce upon children
Young children can adapt to their new circumstances far more readily than adult children. They may have to go through a lot of hurt, upset and difficulty in their new lives but they will adjust to their new lifestyle and soon regain their balance and momentum.
The lives of adult children can be affected in more subtle but equally painful ways. For them it's not just the experience of family life as children but it's that experience for their whole lives, forever. The divorce usually comes as a complete surprise and can often raise questions in the mind of the children, "How long has this been going on? Have my parents been in a sham marriage for years?"
Damaging divorce fallout
Divorcing couples with children should and usually are, very careful about how they present their divorce to their children. "Mummy and Daddy don't love each other anymore but we both still love you" is about the best to explain what's going on. No further reasons are necessary or expected.
However, when the children have grown up then the divorcing parents will very often try to involve their offspring in the whole ghastly toxic brew of allegations, disappointments and resentments that are the key elements of the ending of a long lasting marriage.
Stay out of your parent's divorce
Research shows that the children are often ‘recruited' by one side or the other to be a supporter in the mortal combat that is divorce. The adult child is often treated as a friend rather than a son or daughter. Graphic accounts of past affairs, sexual predilections and family betrayals are discussed to the understandable distress of the child. This is not a good thing to do. It serves no purpose save to give some succor to the parent and a great deal of stress and resentment for the adult child.
Ways to contain the damage
Taking sides is tempting especially if one parent definitely in the wrong. Resist it, you probably don't have the full story and even if you did taking sides rarely works out well. Trying to be a sleuth and find the truth behind your dad's alleged affair will not be a good thing to do, especially if you end up having to provide evidence to the court.
Don't get caught up in being a go between. This will almost certainly get you involved and probably make things worse for all of you.
Help your parents with the non partisan aspects of their divorce like helping to put their house on the market. Never miss an appropriate opportunity to say to both of them together "Do you really think that after twenty eight years of marriage a divorce is a sensible and practical idea?" It's their choice but even mature people like your parents can rush into the wrong decision!