Divorces happen at all ages for innumerable reasons. With a long-term marriage, you may have had children and those children may now have grandchildren. While every divorce has its share of complexity, the presence of grandchildren is one additional element of complexity not experienced by those who divorce young.
An advantage for an older couple is child custody and child support issues are likely to be moot. Either the children are adults and engaged in their own lives or there never were any children. On the other hand, there may be additional, non-legal, complexity. There will be no court-ordered visitation schedule, so family holidays will be up to you and your children to work out. And you may have little guidance for how to deal with grandchildren.
One divorced Minnesota couple has approached the issue in the spirit of cooperation. They were married 36 years but divorced 10 years ago. They had a daughter who was expecting her first child and they were excited to become grandparents.
But she lived in New York City, so visiting to stay and help with the baby had that special complexity. They solved it in an unusual fashion. They jointly rented an apartment near their daughter’s home, so they would be within walking distance of their granddaughter.
They even used items they had saved after their divorce to furnish the new apartment. The story notes they are not spending time together and that they take turns staying at the apartment to help with and care for their granddaughter.
As one psychologist pointed out, in addition to being able to spend more time with their grandchild, they are strengthening their relationship with their daughter by demonstrating how important she is to them by helping out with providing care for her daughter.
The key for this to work after a divorce is to focus on what is really important today and in the future and not to dwell on old grievances and the past.
This may be difficult for some, but as this Minnesota couple shows, everyone benefits, and in a case like this, and it truly can make the “golden years” golden, even after a divorce.