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Divorce is never easy; it is always fraught with a myriad of emotions from fear to sadness to anger.
But the reality is more than 50% of first marriages in America end in divorce.  While statistically more often than not marriages that end generally end in the first 10 years, countless couples divorce after decades of marriage. A prime example is Al and Tipper Gore, who have separated after 40 years.  

In my divorce law practice I have noticed that the reasons given for divorce after decades of marriage seem to differ from the reasons given by clients who have short term marriages, less than 15 years.
The 2 reasons I hear most often are 1) Stayed together for the sake of the children and as soon as the nest is empty divorce is considered. And 2) which often goes with the first is that they have grown apart: lost the connection that brought them together in the first place.  This is especially true if a couple is very young when they married. After all we are very different people at 40 or 50 than we were at 22.    

What steps should someone divorcing after decades take?  

First, deal with your emotions. It is crucial to be in as good of a place emotionally as possible. You are in for some very tough days; make every effort to be as emotionally strong as possible.  

Next, take stock of where you are legally and financially.  Work to clear up any outstanding financial and legal issues.  If there are credit issues, take affirmative steps to clean up credit problems. Try to avoid bringing financial and legal baggage into your post divorce life.  

Thirdly; ascertain as realistically as possible your future needs and wants. Consider financial, legal and parenting needs.  

Also realize that your marriage is over not your life. Develop your moving forward plan. Let the divorce be the beginning of a new chapter in your life, not the end of the story.    

Please add your comments, and experiences to help others get through this tough time.  

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dana Cappelletti wrote Jun 16, 2010
    • Laurie- I know many who need your words of wisdom and I plan to share this with them.  The thing that struck me the most is your statement “Your marriage is over, not your life“.  I think that would make a great post it note!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cathie Beck wrote Jun 17, 2010
    • Definitely not the end the of life, Laurie. I’ve shared some of my experiences of divorce in my blogs on the subject here on Fab40. I’m due to write another soon. My best advice that I can think of at the moment is.... Let your attorney do the fighting for you, but be in charge of it, ask how it’s going and be patient for the results to some extent, but don’t let it slip your mind. Don’t hand over any important paperwork to the ex without making copies of it. Arrange for appraisals of the property and business (if he or you had one) and
      budget the money you have to be able to pay your attorney. Sometimes a divorce can take longer than you expected. Good luck, Ladies of A New Life!  


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