Over the past two decades, the divorce rate among couples in their 50s and older has almost doubled. Many of these couples don’t have young kids or even teens, so they don’t have to worry about custody division and child support issues. However, these couples often have young adult children who will feel the impact of their parents’ break-up, even if it doesn’t impact their daily lives.

There are a number of issues that divorcing parents with adult kids need to think about and work together to minimize as your family moves forward. First, don’t be surprised if the divorce hits your kids hard. They may be angry at one or both of you. They’ve always known their parents as a couple, and they probably assumed that since they made it this far, they’d always be together. The shattering of this assumption can be difficult for them.

Some people start to have doubts about their own marriages when their parents divorce. They may have modeled their behavior based on what they assumed led to a happy, “successful” marriage. It’s important to assure your adult kids that your marriage has nothing to do with theirs, and your divorce by no means signals the end of theirs.

Just as it’s hard for young kids to see their divorced parents with new significant others, it can be equally hard for adult kids to deal with their parents’ new partners. Don’t expect your kids to want to socialize with you and your new girlfriend or boyfriend if they’re not ready.

Find a way to interact amicably with your ex — particularly if you have grandchildren. It’s always positive if kids can see their grandparents get together despite whatever differences they might have to celebrate holidays, birthdays and events like graduations.

If you are a divorcing parent with adult children, you may have student loans you’re still paying for them or perhaps college funds that you’ve started for your grandchildren. You may still be helping them out financially in other ways. Your Rhode Island family law attorney can help you work out these matters with your spouse so that your kids and grandkids aren’t unnecessarily financially impacted by the divorce.