When Complex Divorce And Family Law Matters Must Be Handled Right, People Turn To Us

When Complex Divorce And Family Law Matters Simply Must Be Handled Right, People Turn To Us

Why do some couples divorce after 20 or more years together?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2024 | Divorce |

People often talk about divorce like it is something that always happens shortly after people get married. There has long been an association between fast engagements and divorce, for example. On the other hand, people often assume that those who have remained married for 10 years or longer may stay in that relationship until one spouse eventually dies.

Modern divorce statistics actually paint a very different picture. Older couples are now those most likely to divorce, at least in the United States. Couples who are close to or past the age of retirement and who have spent 20 years together or even longer may file for divorce. What leads to people ending a marriage that has lasted for decades?

Growing apart instead of growing together

Over decades of marriage, a lot can change about an individual’s circumstances and their perception of the world. People may lose their faith or convert to a new religion. They may go back to school, build new friendships or start new hobbies. Spouses sometimes grow together and deepen their connection with one another. Other times, the ways in which they change leave them less compatible after years of marriage than they were when they initially married.

The reduction in social stigma

There used to be a lot of stigma attached to divorce. Employers, churches and neighborhoods might shun someone after a divorce, especially if the community blames one spouse for the failure of the marriage. The stigma attached to divorce has all but dissipated in recent decades. People rarely have to worry about a divorce affecting their careers. Therefore, people who might have stayed married out of a sense of social obligation may now feel free to pursue divorce when they could not before.

The maturation of their children

For many people, divorce may seem inevitable, but they know they need to wait. Those with children may want to wait until all of their children are adults or possibly done with college. Divorcing with children still at home can cause both emotional and financial hardship. Couples may remain married for two decades or longer in part because the desire to divorce takes a backseat to someone hoping to act in the best interest of their children. Other times, the children leaving home is what triggers the realization that the marital relationship is not in a good place.

Different goals for retirement, infidelity and health challenges can also sometimes lead to divorces later in life. For the most part, a gray divorce or divorce after decades of marriage, is very similar to any other divorce, although there may be more marital property to divide and a more pressing emphasis on how each spouse will achieve their retirement goals. Ultimately, understanding what drives different types of divorce may help people feel more confident about the decision to file.