Law Offices of Lisa Stern
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When a long marriage ends in a divorce

According to data from the Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan saw over 34,000 divorces in 2005, with a total divorce rate of 6.8 percent. A sizable portion of these divorces doubtlessly represented couples who had been married for relatively short periods of time, reflecting commonly held notions that younger marriages are weaker, and thus, more prone to dissolution. However, experts say that divorce is an increasingly common occurrence among couples that have been married for many years or even decades.

Individuals who have never been involved in a lengthy marriage themselves may find it difficult to understand why a union that lasted years would suddenly fail. In fact, such divorces are frequently prompted by the same issues that cause younger couples to separate.

According to one clinical social worker, many couples spend years raising children and building a home together, only realizing that they have lost the connection that was crucial to their relationship after their children have departed and started families of their own. The social worker explained that while some married couples see this as an opportunity to begin an exciting new chapter in their lives together, others simply realize that "they no longer recognize and understand the partner they married."

As medical advances and lifespan increases allow people across the country to live longer, more active lives, some couples simply decide that they have spent enough time in an unhappy, dysfunctional or unsatisfying marriage. Some individuals pursue divorce after a long marriage as a way to reinvent themselves or embark on a new life path. Others experience an injury or other dramatic event that makes them reconsider how they wish to spend the remainder of their lives.

Regardless of why one chooses to end a marriage, it is important to remember that divorces following decades-long marriages are typically quite complex due to factors like the commingling of assets, spousal support and property distribution. This makes quality legal representation especially important for Michigan residents preparing to dissolve a marriage of many years.

Source: Huffington Post, "Marriage Problems That Lead To Divorce After Decades" Laura Seldon, Sep. 09, 2013

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