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Kristina Matisic

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The Dilemmas Of An ACOD (Adult Child Of Divorce)

Posted: 11/30/2012 6:18 am

I used to be a Yuppie, then a DINK (Double Income, No Kids). But my latest acronym? I'm now officially an ACOD, an Adult Child of Divorce.

Lots of adults have divorced parents. But far fewer are adults when their parents get a divorce. For years, I thought my parents had if not a perfect marriage, a pretty darn good one. One that was actually going to last and it did, for almost 40 years. But about four years ago, the bottom fell out.

They were 65 and I was 39 and I was totally blindsided. I had just gone through a divorce of my own and the thought of going through another one was overwhelming.

We were a small family to begin with, just the three of us, and the odd cat. I used to like being an only child, getting all my parents' attention (and scrutiny), being hauled off to grown-up events and parties, and traveling with them extensively. By and large, we were a good little unit.

But now that my parents are no longer together, I'm stuck in the middle in a way that only an only child can be. I have been a shoulder to cry on; I've heard stories I never wanted to hear. I've been a therapist, a financial advisor and a friend.

For a long time, I was angry about being dragged into their marital troubles. They didn't seem to appreciate the position they were putting me in, telling me things a kid, (yes, I'm still their kid) shouldn't know. Didn't they watch after school specials? You're supposed to keep your kids out of it.

It took me a long time to draw successful parameters around what I was willing to talk about and what I was willing to hear. I now say, "I can't talk about this with you." It works most of the time.

As anyone who has gone through a divorce knows, the division of assets can be a painful process. And as an ACOD, it's brought up thoughts that don't always sit well. All of a sudden I'm considering, "How will this affect me financially? What will my inheritance be?" Stuff I never gave a second thought to before.

One thing that has been immensely helpful is talking to other ACODs. (Un)fortunately, a close friend has gone through a very similar experience. Other people who were raised in divorced families have also been very supportive in offering advice about how to deal with single parents, new families and super fun new holidays like four Christmases.

Incidentally, a new comedy is coming out entitled ACOD, starring Adam Scott, Amy Poehler and Jane Lynch. I think I'm finally ready to laugh about the craziness of it all. And that's a good thing.

Check out Kristina's website at www.AnnaAndKristina.com.

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  • Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman

    After 30 years of marriage, Danny DeVito, 67, and Rhea Perlman, 64, <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20637106,00.html">announced their separation</a> in October 2012. The split <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/danny-devito-and-rhea-perlman_n_1949497.html">shocked fans</a> of the comedic pair, who shared scenes in the <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/danny-devito-rhea-perlman-separating-377097">sitcom "Taxi,"</a> as well as the <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/danny-devito-rhea-perlman-separating-377097">movie "Matilda."</a> Some sources reported that <a href="http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2012/10/danny-devito-split-wandering-eye-wife-rhea-perlman-divorce">DeVito's wandering eye</a> was to blame for the breakup, but a rep for the actor called the story a <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/danny_devito_cheated_on_rhea_perlman_ZoXiaae45sMmyvBLPm5L4I">"pure and simple fabrication." </a> In December 2012, the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" actor <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/danny-devito-divorce-_n_2246766.html" target="_hplink">fueled reconciliation rumors</a> when he told "Extra" that he and Perlman were <a href="http://www.extratv.com/2012/12/05/exclusive-danny-devito-on-his-marriage-were-working-on-it" target="_hplink">"working on"</a> their marriage. In March 2013, People magazine reported that the <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20682518,00.html" target="_hplink">pair had reconciled</a>, though DeVito's rep had no comment.

  • Al Gore and Tipper Gore

    In June 2010, a 62-year-old Al Gore and a 61-year-old Tipper Gore <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/01/al-gore-tipper-gore-separ_n_596199.html">announced their separation</a> after 40 years of marriage. The split <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/02/nation/la-na-gore-separation-20100602">surprised many people</a>, including those close to the Gores. A family friend of the estranged couple <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/02/nation/la-na-gore-separation-20100602">told the Los Angeles Times</a>, "They're pretty private when it comes to their personal lives. They just managed all these years to do that -- to keep private... When my wife heard the news she said, 'I'd have lost a lot of money on that bet.' But what do we know about the pressure of people under the spotlight? Who knows what that does to people?"

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver

    In July 2011, Maria Shriver, then 55,<a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20498160,00.html"> filed for divorce</a> from Arnold Schwarzenegger, then 63, in the wake of the former California governor's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/17/arnold-schwarzenegger-fathered_n_862867.html">admission that he fathered a child</a> with household staffer Mildred Baena. Since then, rumors of a potential reconciliation between the couple of 25 years have surfaced. In March 2012, sources told The New York Post that Schwarzenegger and Shriver were <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/they_re_back_uLfQyTC3ul1NMbUbvDtUQM#ixzz1nt6tUAWT">attending marriage counseling.</a> During his "Total Recall" book tour, the "Terminator" actor <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/hannity/2012/10/02/cable-exclusive-arnold-schwarzenegger-opens-personal-and-professional-failures">told Fox News' Sean Hannity</a>, "I'm the forever optimist. So I do see that Maria and I get together eventually."

  • Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore

    After <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/13/mel-gibson-divorce-shock-_n_186211.html">nearly three decades </a>of marriage, Robyn Moore, then 52, <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2009/04/13/mel-gibson-divorce/">filed for divorce</a> from Mel Gibson, then 53, in April 2009. The ex-couple -- who have seven children together -- <a href="http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-04-13/gossip/17920592_1_hollywood-hitmaker-divorce-kevin-federline">separated in 2006</a> after Gibson's DUI arrest and much-publicized <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1545901,00.html">anti-Semitic outburst</a>. Their <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2011/12/22/mel-gibson-robyn-gibson-divorce-final/">split was finalized</a> in December 2011. Moore reportedly walked away with a large portion of the "Braveheart" actor's <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2012/09/05/mel-gibson-robyn-wife-divorce-settlement-retirement/">retirement benefits</a>, as well as half of his estimated <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2012/09/05/mel-gibson-robyn-wife-divorce-settlement-retirement/">$800 million fortune. </a>

  • Robin Williams and Marsha Garces

    In 1988, Robin Williams reportedly <a href="http://www.okmagazine.com/couples/nannies-and-famous-men-who-love-them">left his first wife, Valerie Velardi,</a> for his son's nanny, Marsha Garces. The pair got <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XG8aAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4CsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5616,539247&dq=1988+robin+williams+garces&hl=en">married in May 1989</a> while <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XG8aAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4CsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5616,539247&dq=1988+robin+williams+garces&hl=en">Garces was pregnant</a> with the comedian's second child. In 2008, after almost 19 years of marriage and two children together, the 51-year-old Garces <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20186451,00.html">filed for divorce</a> from the 56-year-old Williams. The former couple <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/robin-williams-weds-20112410">finalized their divorce</a> in 2010.

  • Morgan Freeman and Myrna Colley-Lee

    After 24 years of marriage, Morgan Freeman, then 71, and Myrna Colley-Lee <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/17/morgan-freeman-myrna-coll_n_720958.html">split</a> in July 2008. But the public was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/06/morgan-freeman-announces_n_117323.html">unaware of the divorce filing </a>until August 2008 when the "Million Dollar Baby" actor got into a serious car accident while driving with a female passenger late on a Sunday evening. After <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2518811/Batman-star-Morgan-Freeman-leaves-hospital-after-car-crash.html">suspicions arose</a> as to why Freeman was out with someone other than his wife, the actor's attorney and business partner<a href="http://www.accesshollywood.com/morgan-freeman-and-wife-divorcing-after-24-years-of-marriage_article_10701?&__source=tag-article-hightlight"> issued a statement </a>confirming that he was getting a divorce. Freeman and Colley-Lee <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/17/morgan-freeman-myrna-coll_n_720958.html">finalized their split</a> more than two years later in September 2010.


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