Home Will Never Be The Same Again: A Guide for Adult Children of Gray Divorce
(by Carol Hughes, PhD, and Bruce Fredenburg)
Adult children are often overlooked and forgotten when their parents divorce later in life, but in these pages they will find comfort and understanding for the many feelings, frustrations, and challenges they face.
What inspired you to write this book?
When older people divorce, we often overlook the impact this decision has on the couple’s adult children. The disruption and pain that occurs because of this “gray divorce” is often minimized or dismissed. Adult children are treated as if they are only marginal players in an extremely significant disruption in their family life, even though they are major stakeholders in their parents’ divorce. The family they have known their entire lives is disintegrating, yet there is an unspoken expectation that it will not hurt them much because they are grown.
We wanted to give a voice to the adult children whose parents are divorcing, which is why we feature the experiences of these men and women, ranging in ages from 18 to 50 years old, in our book. Some of these individuals are single; some are married. Some have children of their own. All of them are in different stages of shock, fear, and sudden, dramatic change. We wanted them to know that they are not alone, that we hear their pain, and that we can provide them with solutions.
What is the most critical piece of advice you can give an adult whose parents are divorcing?
Parental divorce can distress or break the attachment bonds between adult children and their parents, but there is hope and healing available for you and your family, friends, and community relationships. Your feelings of shock, anger, worry, sadness, anxiety, and grief are valid, and you are not alone. Research indicates that at least half of adult children of all ages report a range of negative emotions about their parents’ divorce, yet eventually were willing to resolve the issues with their parents.
Learn effective communication skills and boundary setting with your parents, family members, friends, and community members. Plan your own holiday traditions, rituals, and traditions if you want to. Avoid becoming your parents’ confidant. Encourage your parent to talk with a professional, e.g., clergy, counselor, therapist, and to work with an estate planning attorney to ensure the transmission of your family’s estate to you and your children. Consult with a professional who has expertise in the effects of divorce on adult children and how to deal with your parents dating, re-partnering, and remarriage.
Advance praise for HOME WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN
“This book is not just a Guide for those often-ignored Adult Children of Gray Divorces, but also a guide and support for therapists and even for those Gray parents contemplating a divorce. The authors’ experience and commitment to this group is thoroughly and helpfully presented.”
– Stu Webb, Founder of Collaborative Law concept
“Finally, an in-depth description of the effects of divorce on adult children. For too many years, I’ve listened to parents negate the effects of their divorce on their grown children. In Home Will Never Be the Same Again, the authors bring to life the depths of isolation and loneliness these children experience with no one to talk to and no way to understand their own emotions. Hughes and Fredenburg, through this ground-breaking book have given all of us in the field a new tool to help both divorcing parents and their children face this life transition in a way that leads to healing instead of family destruction. ”
– Nancy Ross, LCSW, BCD, Divorce Coach, Mediator, Trainer, Psychotherapist, Communication Specialist for Trusts and Estates
- Collaborative Practice Tips: 10 Reasons to Use a Financial Neutral in Every Collaborative Case
- Collaborative Practice Tips
- How To Help Your Children During Separation and Divorce
- The Standard of Value
- Why Is Divorce So Stressful?
- Adult Children of Divorce: The Invisible Children
- How To Talk With Your Adult Children About Your Upcoming Separation or Dissolution of Marriage
- How To Talk With Your Minor Children About Your Upcoming Separation or Dissolution of Marriage
- How No-Court Divorce Benefits Children
- What to do When Your Parents Divorce and You’re Already a Grown-Up
- Yikes! Mom or Dad is Dating Again: How to Avoid a Family Rift
- Tracing Separate Property in a Family Law Case: From an Accountant’s Perspective
Divorce Options Workshops
SPLIT: A Film for Kids of Divorce (and their Parents)
Frequently Asked Questions
As an accountant and CDFA™, my firm has been involved in many cases of tracing the separate property of an individual spouse throughout a marriage. One such case involved almost two million dollars in deposits over a ten-year period in thirteen different accounts. The scope of the assignment was to show that the community did not have an interest in one particular bank account, regardless of how title was held.
While this process can seem tedious and overwhelming, we have compiled a list of tasks, which make the tracing faster and easier. The following process was followed in resolving the above-mentioned case, and represents the general system used in all cases:
- Inventory all pertinent documents.
- Determine what documents are missing and or still needed.
- Prepared a document request.
- Schedule each disbursement and each deposit for all related bank accounts.
- Analyzed each bank account deposit by deposit to determine the source of funds.
- Determine if any deposits are transfers between bank accounts.
- Analyze each disbursement to determine if it was a transfer between accounts.
- Whenever a direct tracing is not possible, you have to look at all documents and possibly find a corresponding date and amount.
- Once all bank accounts had been analyzed:
- Prepare a summary of the bank activity showing
- Total deposit and withdrawals
- Identify origin of non-transferred funds
- Identify where non-transferred funds were spent
- Inventory all pertinent documents.
- Prepare a schedule of the community bank account
- Schedule community income
- Schedule community living expenses
- Schedule other disbursements
Once all of these tasks are completed, step back and look at the work and ask: “Does this make sense?” When I reviewed my work, looking at the total traceable funds and compared it to the community standard of living, I was able to show the funds were not community (owed by both the husband and wife).
While you will need to determine which records are applicable for your individual case, this basic process has been extremely successful in tracing separate property.
Many issues need to be addressed whenever two people decide to get divorced. One major issue is income taxes.
Some of the more common questions are:
- Do we file jointly or separately?
- Do we have to allocate the income, and if so, how?
- Do we have to allocate the expenses, and if so, how?
- My spouse is self-employed. Who pays the self-employment taxes?
- Who gets credit for the estimated tax payments?
- We have one child. Who gets the deduction?
- We have more than one child. Can we split the deduction?
- I paid a lot of attorney and accounting fees. Can I deduct them?
The following is a list of some of the issues that a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and tax professional can bring to the table that attorneys and the participants in a divorce often overlook. This list is not all-inclusive:
- Discounting Epstein credits for the tax benefits
- Weighing the risks of filing a joint return
- Considering the child support trap of IRC � 71
- Not fighting over the dependency exemption when the client can’t use it
- Considering if both can be head of household
- Not assuming that the capital-gains tax is based on the client’s share of the proceeds
- Evaluating whether attorney’s fees can be deductible or capitalized
- Not considering the tax traps in dividing stock options.
There can be significant tax implications when the parties divorce, you owe it to yourself to consult a financial professional (forensic accountant, CPA, and/or CDFA) to make sure you and your attorney understand all of the financial and tax implications of your divorce.
- Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County (cdsoc.com)
- Collaborative Practice of California (cpcal.com)
- Collaborative Divorce California (Collaborativedivorcecalifornia.com)
- International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP)