It's even a serious problem for many adult children:
Twenty years after her in-laws’ messy and bitter divorce, Tammy, 35 — a print company manager who lives in Chesterfield, Derbyshire — and her husband Paul, 32, who works in hotel management, are still struggling with the fallout.Speaking as a child of parents who divorced when I was an adult, I can testify that while the problems presented by parental divorce are real, there is an excellent solution to them. Move to a different continent. It makes life significantly less complicated and significantly more tranquil. Penguins or divorced parents? The choice practically makes itself.
If anything the challenges have become worse as Paul’s parents have grown older. The continuing bad feeling between Tom and his ex-wife Mary, 78, impacts on the whole family, including their grandchildren, Alexander, eight, and Savannah, 15.
So bad is the animosity that many family events have been spoiled by it.
Like the growing numbers of other adult children in the same situation, Tammy and Paul have found that the passing of time does not heal the emotional wounds.
In fact it makes the issue of divided loyalties ever more acute, not least because of the increasing loneliness and frailty of their parents.
Much has been written about the trauma that people of any age feel when their parents decide to split. But little thought has been given to the fact that problems caused by broken marriages can actually deepen with time.
And if you throw much-loved grandchildren into the equation, then all-out war can ensue.