Going home, whether from school or just across town, can add a layer of stress to your life. After you turn 18, the court orders regarding your health care, who takes the tax deduction and parental time all become null and void. This can make visits home especially stressful, especially when you await the dreaded ”What’s next?” question from not just one but two families.
Dealing with your parents’ divorce at any age is difficult. After experiencing two divorces from my parents, I’m here to offer support and advice for how to navigate early adulthood under these scenarios.
Visiting Family: Do What’s Best for You
Often as an adult, you will likely see your family around the holidays — maybe exclusively at the holidays. You no longer have to follow court-directed orders and can spend time with different family members as you choose. You can decide to continue the status quo or you can decide to spend more or less time with certain people. Ultimately, while considering the emotions of your family members is important, you need to base your decisions off your own mental health.
It’s possible that, regardless of what you do, the people in your life won’t be satisfied with how much time you choose to spend with them. Try to keep in mind this is coming from a place of love and wanting to spend time with you.
Be Prepared to Make Adult Decisions As Court Orders Are Voided
Finances may look different for you too: child support, medical bills, car and health insurance, among others, are no longer court directed. If one parent was responsible for paying child support and that helped fund your health care, you may quickly become responsible for your own health care coverage. You’ll need to make lots of important decisions fairly quickly. You may want to check HealthCare.gov for affordable options.
Although this year may bring new challenges and look different financially and otherwise, you will figure out a solution and you aren’t alone in the struggle.
Set Boundaries to Avoid Becoming Your Parents’ Therapist
Keep in mind that once you are an adult, it becomes easier for your parents to use you as a free therapist. It’s important to set healthy boundaries in terms of what you are and are not OK with. Try to avoid getting caught between the opposing sides and allow yourself the time to grieve what your life would’ve looked like. At the end of the day, your focus needs to be on your life and your priorities. You absolutely can and should support your family, but don’t let it become a therapy session where one parent bashes the other. You and your family will get through these new challenges and come out the other end.