June 27, 2010

Divorce After a Marriage of Long Duration

Posted in Divorce tagged at 11:00 am by demetriagraves

Divorce after a short marriage is not uncommon, and the proceedings for them tend to be well-known, at least on some basic level, by the general public. However, filing for divorce after a marriage of twenty, thirty, or forty years can be rather complex. After a marriage of such a long duration, there are not only entangled feelings, but entangled assets, debts, and belongings as well. Sifting through everything a couple has accumulated and shared over a lifetime can be, simply put, an arduous process.

Furthermore, Spousal Support requirements can make the process an expensive one if awarded, which it often is. In California, if you have been married for less than ten years, Spousal Support generally lasts for half of the duration of the marriage. This is not the case for marriages in California that last longer than ten years, which are generally awarded “long duration” Spousal Support.  Long duration support is issued indefinitely unless both parties agree to a specific end date. So, if we assume that husband earns more than his wife does, a California court would require he pay her Spousal Support for the foreseeable future. This can get pretty expensive.

Another factor to consider with marriages of long duration is that any children are usually adults and can get embroiled in the proceedings which can come at high emotional price tag. Even though any adult children and are no longer dependents, there is still concern regardless of their age. Emotional bonds are hard to break and this is especially evident in long-term marriages or when children have seen their parents get along for so long. It is a myth that adult children are a non-issue in their parents’ later-in-life divorce. Visitation, support, and custody are not on the table, but the adult child is often playing a role at the table or behind the scenes.

Here’s some things to consider if you are going through a divorce later in life and have adult children:
–   Be wary of what you say and share information cautiously.  What you tell your adult child may travel to the other parent innocently and will not be protected by any rules of confidentiality.

–   If your attorney wants your consent to talk with your adult children, give it. Their observations or opinions may be significant to your case.

–   Think about the consequences before you bad-mouth your spouse in the presence of your son or daughter. If there’s any chance of a reconciliation, it will be difficult for them to forget what has been said during the divorce process.  Plus why interfere in their relationship with their other parent?

Divorce at any time of life can be a challenge, so please make sure that you are working with an experienced family law attorney. I offer a free confidential initial consultation where you can get your questions answered. Being well informed of what’s involved in the divorce process goes a long way to ensuring a smoother journey through your divorce. This is especially important when dealing with a marriage of long duration.


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