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Advice for grandparents who choose to get a divorce

No matter how old two spouses are or how long they have been married, either one may have thoughts about ending the marriage. Michigan residents may know the concept as "graying of divorce" when couples who are over the age of 50 decide to call it quits on their marriage. The divorce rate in this particular demographic has increased more than two-fold since 1990.

When parents divorce, the focus is often on the children and how the marital separation will affect them. But when grandparents divorce, the concern may shift to grandchildren, especially if there is a tight-knit relationship.

Grandparents may not want their decision to divorce to create a jaded view of love and marriage in the minds of their grandkids. Luckily, there are ways to avoid such a negative association.

Unlike with parents, grandkids usually do not live in the same house as their grandparents. Therefore, they do not witness the daily arguments and stress. For this reason, the divorce announcement may be more of a shock than an expected event. Grandparents should be prepared to explain their decision.

Grandparents may be tempted to ask their own children to pick sides. But this will only hurt all of the relationships involved, including those with grandchildren. And it is never helpful to ask a child to prevent grandkid visits with the other spouse. It is critical to maintain family events as much as possible and have both grandparents present.

Young children often are most concerned with how the divorce will impact their lives and their routines. It is helpful to explain what will change with the divorce and what will remain the same. If grandparents plan to stay involved in the lives of their grandkids, then they must make this point very clear.

Grandparents can still be a role model for their grandchildren and a wonderful source of love and family. This can be best accomplished if the divorce proceeds as smoothly as possible. A family law attorney can be an excellent resource for Michigan couples, both old and young, during a divorce situation and provide counsel on issues that arise after lengthy marriages. The family dynamic does not have to suffer simply because grandparents choose to go their separate ways.

Source: Huffington Post, "When Grandparents Divorce," Marie Hartwell-Walker, Mar. 3, 2014

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