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When A Long-Term Marriage Ends In Divorce


After being married for 20 years, you and your spouse decide to call it quits. This can be a shocking revelation to everyone who knows you, but in your mind, the split has been a long time coming.

People will come up with excuses in their minds, though. One of the parties must have had an affair. The husband had a midlife crisis. The wife is dealing with an empty nest after all her children have moved out.

Marriage is hard. After being married for decades, couples often have resentment over issues. They may have trouble with finances. They may fall out of love with each other but find happiness with someone else.

Indeed, dealing with a divorce after being married for 20, 30, or 40 years or longer is no easy task. There are a lot of feelings and likely many assets involved. Having to split everything when a couple is so close to (or at) retirement age is no easy task.

When the parties are 50 years old or older, these are called gray divorces. They have become more common in the past decade as couples decide they no longer want to live in empty marriages. They’re living longer and want to experience happiness.

There are some things to consider, though. The biggest risk factor for gray divorce, surprisingly, is not a life transition, but one’s marital past. A person who has been divorced before is more likely to divorce again. Also, financial stresses may be a factor. One study showed that unemployment—not retirement—was present in many older divorcing couples. In addition, long-term marriages don’t usually end on a whim. A festering unresolved issue could very well be the cause of a late-in-life divorce.

Causes of Divorce

So what causes couples to divorce in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond after being together for decades. There are several main reasons:

  • Money issues. Finances are a huge source of stress for more than 60% of adults. In a marriage, money can be a huge stressor when one person is a saver, while the other is a spender.
  • Communication issues. As couples get older, they may find less and less to talk about, especially once the kids are grown. They may sit in the same room in silence, which can be boring.
  • Many long-term marriages lack sex and other forms of intimacy, so the parties often go look for it elsewhere.
  • Empty nest. Once the children leave the home, there can be a lot of emotions. In some cases, people stay married for the kids, so once there are no more children to care for, the marriage may have no meaning.

Seek Legal Help

Ending a long-term marriage can be shocking to friends and family members. However, these marriages don’t usually end on a whim. Unresolved issues often force divorce into one’s mind long before it actually happens.

A long-term marriage often comes with numerous assets. Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you prepare so you can easily move on late in life. Schedule a consultation by calling 954-764-4330 or filling out the online form.




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