Three points in divorce are often much different for older people than for younger couples. The first is spousal support, the second is child custody/support and the third is asset division.
Change is not always bad. Some things tend to be easier during a so-called gray divorce, while others may become more complicated after a long union. Get a brief introduction on three topics of particular note for long-term couples.
One of the main considerations of the court for alimony is the duration of the marriage. The reasoning is simple. Many long-term partnerships eventually result in one party becoming financially dependent. The time it takes to develop workplace skills and enter a new career is also more of an issue as people age. This means that spousal support is usually more significant when people have been together for a while.
On the other hand, many couples married for a while have teenagers or adult children. This often makes the hotly contested issue of child support much easier to deal with. In fact, many older children are competent enough to describe their own best interests and take some part in custody agreements themselves.
Retirement accounts are often among the most contested assets in any marriage. More often than not, the party with the larger retirement accounts is reluctant to part with these funds.
Older couples often have significant assets in retirement funds. The combination of strong emotions and large amounts of money has the potential to make the division of these types of accounts a point of contention.
It is often possible to prepare for all these issues. Through negotiation, and possibly litigation, fair property division and support agreements are just as attainable for a 40-year marriage as they are for a relatively short-lived union.