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How to Get Through a Divorce After a Long-Term Marriage

The financial and emotional impact of ending a marriage can be difficult for anyone going through a divorce. If your marriage was a long-term marriage, both the financial and emotional impact may be felt even more strongly during and after the divorce. To help you navigate the process, a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby discusses how to get through a divorce after a long-term marriage.La Vergne divorce lawyer

What You Should Know about Divorces Involving a Long-Term Marriage

While there is no universal definition for what qualifies as a “long-term marriage,” most experts (and laws) consider them to be marriages of 20 years or more. Generally, the longer the duration of the marriage, the more difficult it can be to envision life after the divorce. If you are contemplating divorce after a long-term marriage, you should know that you are not alone. Consider some facts related to divorce after long-term marriages from a Psychology Today article:

  • The “gray” divorce rate has doubled since 1990 but is still less common than divorce among those under 50. “Gray” divorces refer to couples who decide to divorce after reaching retirement age. Instead of enduring an unhappy marriage to avoid the stigma of divorce, the Baby Boomer generation effectively made divorce an acceptable option. In 1990, 5 out of 1,000 married people over 50 divorced. By 2010, it was 10 out of 1,000. 
  • Previous divorce, not life transition, is the biggest risk factor for a later-in-life divorce. Baby Boomers are more likely to have divorced in their youth. For those over 50 today, the rate of divorce for those who are in remarriages is 2.5 times higher than for those in first marriages. 
  • Long-term marriages rarely end on a whim. On the contrary, the seeds of marital failure may have been sown decades before and are just now reaching fruition.
  • The divorce will still impact the kids. If you stayed together until the kids were grown, know that even as adults they will be impacted by the divorce. One study found that adult daughters may tend to blame fathers and that changing family dynamics can negatively impact the parent-adult child relationship.
  • Grief can linger longer. Even if you both agree that divorce is the right choice, you may grieve the loss of the marriage longer simply because you were married longer. 
  • It isn’t all bad news! There can be positive outcomes to divorce after a long-term marriage. Improved health and happiness and/or the relief and peace of ending a tumultuous relationship often follow divorce. You may even find love again!

Tips for Getting through the Divorce

Regardless of how sure you are that divorce is the best option, or the inevitable outcome, it can still be rough to get through the divorce process after being married to someone for decades. The following tips can help:

  • Make sure you have a support system. Everyone needs this during a divorce; however, since you have likely been reliant on your spouse to serve as your support system for most of your life, you may need to create a new one from scratch. 
  • Find yourself again. You have been part of a couple for so long that you may need to take some time to figure out who you are without your spouse. Explore new job opportunities, enroll in classes, or take up yoga or cooking. Whatever you do, make it about you.
  • Stay positive. It can be very easy to focus on the negative and spiral down into depression. In fact, your mindset makes a big difference in how you experience the divorce process, especially when it follows a long-term marriage. Stay positive and keep moving forward into the future – a future full of new possibilities.
  • Expect bad days. You may have a day (or days) when you are overcome with emotions over the divorce. This is completely normal and does not mean you are falling apart. Accept that these days will happen and call on your support system to help you get through them.
  • Understand your rights regarding assets and support. Divorce frequently results in a significant financial disparity between the parties post-divorce. This is even more likely when a long-term marriage is involved. Along with an “equitable” division of all marital assets, you may be entitled to alimony in futuro. This is a long-term (often lifetime) option that may be ordered when a court is convinced that a spouse will be unable to earn enough to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions or concerns about how to get a divorce after a long-term marriage in Tennessee, contact a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer to discuss your options. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.

Dinah Michael