While it is a natural part of a family life cycle for children to leave their homes for college or marriage, it does not make it less painful for parents.
Parents often feel profound loss or grief, commonly known as the “empty nest syndrome.” In extreme cases, they take it out on each other and decide to divorce.
Thus, “empty nest divorce” happens when parents, usually in their senior years, evaluate if their marital relationship in its post-child-rearing phase must end. Psychologists offer valuable insights about how to approach such unfamiliar dynamics.
Handling an empty nest divorce
It is understandable for parents to question their life choices after a significant shift in their situation. But they can manage it better by:
- Accepting the nontraditional arrangement: By recognizing that circumstances vary per family, parents can embrace that divorce does not automatically mean a bad thing. For some, it can be a necessary transition to the next stage of their lives. Parents should free themselves of societal expectations and focus on respecting each other’s decisions.
- Considering the financial impact: A late-stage divorce typically comes at a cost, especially regarding retirement options and other dependent family members. Both parties must assess their assets and liabilities, and check how their potential separation can influence their finances.
- Maintaining a sense of optimism: Despite unsettling changes caused by the child’s departure from their care, parents have wisdom in their years. They can use it to weather challenges with an intact disposition.
Ultimately, researchers suggest always seeking paths to happiness and contentment after raising a child. With the help of the right support system, parents can discover how meaningful their lives can be.
With properly recalibrated roles, parents can sustain their marriage even if their child has left the nest. However, when tensions persist, parents can ask their Oklahoma counsel for help in exploring legal options. For those in an amicable empty nest divorce already, legal representation is still vital to ensure that negotiations remain in good faith.