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The evolution of divorce priorities after 10 or 20 years of marriage

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2021 | Divorce

As we age and our bodies change, so too do our priorities in life. A 40-year-old version of you is unlikely to look exactly like – and have the exact same goals, wants and needs – as the 18-year-old version of you.

Couples and marriages are like that as well. Young married couples are often focused on their children and on working hard to get ahead in the early stages of their careers. While more mature couples in their 50s are often at the peak of their earning power empty-nesters adjusting to decreases in time with their kids and increases in time with each other. Many have also started to look ahead at retirement and finding answers to questions about whether they’ll stay in Milwaukee year-round or perhaps adopt a snowbird lifestyle.

Divorces in these different stages of marriage of life aren’t necessarily more or less complex, but issues and disagreements tend to evolve over the years, according to a pair of family law attorneys in an article recently penned for Forbes.

The New York lawyers looked at important considerations couples have when they divorce after 10, 20 and 30 years of marriage.

Divorce after 10 years of marriage

When a couple ends their marriage around the 10-year mark, the most important matters in their divorce are likely to involve child custody, visitation, child support and related matters.

It’ll be important for parents of young children to craft a workable parenting plan that accommodates everyone’s typically busy schedule. Many couples divorcing after about a decade of marriage opt to work out custody and parenting plan issues in mediation that can help them to avoid putting themselves and their children through a confrontational split.

After 10 years, couples tend to not have accumulated tremendous wealth, but the division of assets can still be difficult, especially when it comes to the disposition of the home and division of marital debt.

Divorce after 20 years of marriage

Different considerations are at the forefront of divorces taking place after two decades of marriage. Children tend to be older – often in their teens – so custody and parenting agreements might still be needed, the focus will often have shifted to their financial well-being.

College costs and living expenses will be near the top of the list of considerations. Will they be able to continue attending private school and keep their commitments to extracurricular activities, for instance. Will there be an increased emphasis on working? Will there need to be changes in academic pursuits?

Spousal support (alimony) is also more likely to be centerstage in 20-year divorces. and in many cases, there will also be matters involving business valuation (and a buyout of a spouse’s share of the firm) or the division of professional practices.