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Gray Divorce: Managing Uncertainty After Parental Divorce

Divorce. By middle age, you likely know several friends who have gone through one and perhaps you, too, have navigated the painful waters of a marriage dissolving. Yet, the one relationship we often don't expect to end in divorce during this time period is our parents marriage. But gray divorce, divorce between those 50 years of age and older, is the fastest growing divorce demographic. Increased lifespans and loosening taboos surrounding divorce are empowering the 50-plus age bracket to exit stale marriages and start their third act single.

Although the divorcees may feel liberated and emboldened by their new single status, the same can't always be said for their adult children. Some argue that gray divorce doesn't upset adult children as they are mostly launched from the family home and are embarking on their own adult journeys including career, marriage, and parenthood. However, this research reveals that adult children have a difficult time coming to terms with the end of their parents' marriage and, by all accounts, their family of origin as they know it.