Co-Parenting When Your Children Are Grown Up
Some people stay in unhappy marriages until their youngest child graduates from high school and then file for divorce after his or her graduation, hoping to avoid all the stress of drafting a parenting plan and complying with a child support order. Certain problems are unique to divorce cases where the couple has minor children, but that does not mean that divorce is easy, financially or emotionally, if your children are past the age of 19 when you file for divorce. Gray divorce, in which the parties are in their 50s or older, represents the fastest growing category of divorce cases, and many of these couples have adult children. A Birmingham divorce lawyer can help you finalize your divorce in a way that makes it as easy as possible to adjust to your new role as a single parent of adult children.
Can Adult Children Affect Your Divorce Case?
When the parents of minor children get a divorce, the court must ensure that both parents meet their parental obligations toward the child. This means issuing a child support order in an amount calculated to require each parent to pay his or her fair share of the children’s expenses, relative to each parent’s income, expenses unrelated to the children, and parenting time. Accounting for every penny of children’s expenses during and after your divorce is exhausting, and it is a relief that, if your children are already grown up, it is your decision alone how much financial support, if any, you provide to your grown children. On the one hand, the court and your ex-spouse do not have the right to stop you from sending money every month to your 23-year-old son who lives in the city where he graduated from college to supplement the money he gets from his job. On the other hand, if your son lives with you and is a full-time student with no income, the court will not order your ex to pay child support.
These matters usually do not affect the outcome of the divorce case. It only becomes an issue if you and your ex disagree about the necessary expenses you claim on your financial disclosures. Your ex might refuse to pay you alimony unless you stop paying your son’s graduate school tuition or unless you make him pay rent while living with you. The court decides matters like these on a case-by-case basis.
Co-Parenting Best Practices Apply Even After Your Children Are Beyond the Parenting Plan Stage
The law does not require divorced parents of adult children to interact with each other or with their children at all. Despite this, your children have feelings about your divorce. The best way to avoid harming your relationship with your children is not to put them in the middle of your disagreements with your ex and not to ask them to take sides.
Contact Peeples Law About Gray Co-Parenting
A Birmingham family law attorney can help you maintain a strong relationship with your adult children during and after your divorce. Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.