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Massachusetts seniors and the 'graying' of divorce

Senior citizens facing divorce encounter different areas of contention than younger couples. One of those is the ways the divorce will affect the grandchildren and the grandparents' ongoing relationship with them.

The divorce rate in married couples aged 50 and older has greatly increased in the last 14 years -- now one in four marriages will be affected. A divorce at this point in a marriage can result in an altered relationship with any grandchildren, biological and otherwise.

In order not to sow seeds of dissension and cause vulnerable children to lack faith in relationships and love, divorcing grandparents should be mindful of certain concerns.

-- Children are by nature quite self-centered and will likely wonder how this parting will most affect them. If grandparents are able to remain in their lives, reassure them of this, and if this is no longer possible, take the time to gently explain why.

-- It can be shocking, disorienting and unfathomable to children that their grandparents' marriages are failing. They can become seriously disillusioned about love, marriage and the opposite sex as a result. Divorcing seniors can reassure them that lasting love is possible and worth striving for.

-- Depending on the grandkids' age and proximity to their grandparents, they may likely be completely unprepared for the reality of a split because they never witnessed any warning signs of a relationship schism.

-- If a the spouse of a biological grandparent is close to the grandchildren, the love is reciprocated and they pose no harm, a relationship and positive feelings between them should be encouraged and facilitated. Kids need all the love they can get.

-- Divorcing grandparents should work with the grandchildren's parents to determine how best to remain active and involved in their lives.

Despite all precautions, sometimes loving grandparents are denied an ongoing relationship with their grandchildren due to the misplaced loyalties of their own children, their former spouses or for other reasons. If you feel unjustly shut out of your grandchildren's lives post-divorce, consult with a Massachusetts attorney who is familiar with grandparents' rights and willing to fight for yours.

Source: Huffington Post, "When Grandparents Divorce" Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., Mar. 03, 2014

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