Younger individuals sometimes seek a divorce after just a few years, but many older individuals have begun seeking a divorce to end their long term marriages. Even data supports this: the divorce rate for individuals over age 35 has doubled in the past two decades. Like short term marriages, divorce in long term marriages generally morphs into tricky situations that are notoriously hard to navigate. Even when both parties have good legal representation, it may take years to fully resolve every outstanding issue within a failed marriage. In order for both parties to successfully conclude the divorce process, both parties should understand the reasons why divorce in long term marriages happens and how to avoid the consequences that may arise.
Why divorce in long term marriages happen
Divorce in long term marriages can happen for the same reason why divorce in shorter-term marriage happen. Long term marriages, however, do have some unique factors that differentiate them from shorter-term marriages.
Generational differences. Many long term marriages are between members of older generations, notably Baby Boomers. Older Baby Boomers are now divorcing at rates similar to rates that young Baby Boomers did in the past. Many Baby Boomer couples may also be influenced by changing societal standards, leading to a decreased need in maintaining a marriage.
Changing societal standards. Many older people are slowly changing how they see the world, including how they see marriage. The decreased importance of marriage in society might influence how older people see their marriages, leading to their eventual divorce.
More financial opportunities alone. Older people, especially older women, no longer need to rely on marriage for financial prosperity. Now, there are ways for single older people to earn money without needing to split assets with a marriage partner.
Personal reasons. Whether related to age or personality, older married partners sometimes desire to not be married anymore. Age is a common reason, as some partners do not desire to be a long term caregiver for their partner.
The potential consequences of divorce in long term marriages
Like other legal cases, divorce in long term marriages may lead to consequences for both parties if the case is not handled with care. Some of the common consequences of divorce in long term marriages are the same as a divorce in shorter marriages.
The dissolution of long term marriages usually deals with alimony or spousal maintenance for either party. This can be contentious because one party may not want to pay for the other, especially if they feel they can maintain their own life post-marriage. The age factor complicates this because one party may not be able to return to the workforce for that reason.
Some older couples share fully paid and maintained assets like their marital home. In a divorce in long term marriages, deciding who keeps what is a contentious situation that could end badly if not managed properly. Both parties, along with their legal representation and the courts, often have to figure out who gets what and who gets awarded with an equal share in alimony.
Couples seeking a divorce in long term marriages should get a free consultation from legal professionals. A qualified legal professional can help each party navigate the potential pitfalls of divorce in long term marriages.