Divorce is rarely something people consider “easy” to handle, no matter their age, but is it easier for some age groups than others?
Not really. Your age and the length of your marriage do tend to make a difference during divorce in one significant way: What you focus on the most may shift depending on your current stage in life.
Here’s what research says about how the timing of your marital divide may affect the process of your divorce as a whole:
When you’re about 10 years in
Couples who are just under or above the 10-year mark in marriage tend to be younger — and they are the most likely to have young children involved.
For those couples, custody and child support can easily be the most pressing concerns. Since the children are usually still in their “tender years,” it helps for divorcing couples in this group to concentrate on building the functional co-parenting relationships they’ll need to rely on for many years into the future.
Childless couples in this group usually focus on dividing their assets and debts. Who gets the car, how the stocks are divided and who gets stuck with which student loans or credit card bills may be the biggest issues to settle. Most of these couples are looking to settle quickly so they can move on.
When you’re 20 years in
These divorces may be more complicated because they tend to involve more assets and issues involving support.
Since the children may be older (and, thus, self-directed), custody may not be as much of an issue — but you may need to talk about higher education plans, extracurricular needs and more. Plus, one spouse may have already given up a career to focus on the family and the home by this point. A divorce may leave them stripped of the funds they need to survive without spousal support.
When you’re 30 years in
These are usually the folks in the “gray” divorce category. Their focus may be geared toward their retirement goals, so splitting the pensions, selling off real estate, carving out inheritance rights and (again) spousal support may all be most important.
Whatever your stage in life, the more you know about your rights and options in a divorce, the easier you may find the process.