Many people stay married much longer than they want to “for the children.” When the children leave to go to college or graduate from college and head out on their own, some spouses decide it is time to seek a divorce. Additionally, some empty-nesters begin to identify problems in a marriage once their life is not consumed by the needs of the children. In any event, getting divorced once your kids are grown up and out of the house can be uniquely challenging.
Just because you do not have to worry about the effect of divorce on young children or schedule changes due to shared custody does not mean that empty nest divorce is easy. In fact, it can be difficult in many ways. With divorce rates increasing among older adults – often called “gray divorce” – this is a common matter facing many people across the United States. You should always seek the advice, support, and assistance you need from the right St. Louis divorce attorney right away.
Property Division Issues
Missouri law requires divorcing spouses to divide their marital property equitably, whether or not there are minor children. However, having a minor child can often make it easier to determine who will remain in the family home, as to uproot the child’s life as little as possible. When there are no longer any children living at home, the issue of who keeps the house – if anyone – will be up in the air.
If there is no question of child custody, the spouses will often be on level playing fields when it comes to fighting for the house. If they cannot agree who should keep the house, the family court may even order them to sell the house and split the proceeds. It is always better to find solutions on your own regarding property division than have the court dictate your future and require you to seel treasured property.
If one parent did not work or worked part-time to raise the children, and a divorce follows the children leaving home, spousal support will certainly be an issue in the divorce. The non-working spouse will likely not have the necessary experience or training needed to go out and immediately earn enough to support themselves. In this situation, the court may order the working spouse to provide financial support to the non-working spouse, which is commonly called alimony or spousal maintenance.
If spouses wait until their children are grown to file for divorce, chances are they have had a long marriage of about 20 years or longer. In addition, the non-working spouse’s age may make it more difficult to gain the experience needed to support themselves. Because of these factors, the court may be more inclined to award long-term or permanent alimony.
Whether you are the spouse seeking alimony or paying alimony, it is critical that you have a lawyer ensuring that your alimony determination is fair and reasonable under the circumstances. An attorney can work for the following:
- An alimony award that is enough to provide the financial support you need
- An alimony order that is not excessive and will not make it difficult for you to cover your own expenses
Alimony is often a contentious matter in a divorce, and the right attorney can help you explore all possible options for compromise, such as mediation, to keep the matter out of court whenever you can.
Divorce can be more emotionally difficult if your children are out on their own. When you divorce with young kids, you will still have others in the house at least part of the time. On the other hand, if your kids have moved out and you get divorced, you will be living on your own. This can make the emotional and mental impact of divorce even harder.
Others may say, “at least the kids are grown” when it comes to the end of your marriage, though this can increase feelings of loneliness. It is important that you always seek the support you need to cope, whether it is through counseling, friend networks, or other resources. When you are in a healthier emotional state regarding your divorce, you can often be in a better position to resolve your divorce case in a favorable manner.
Contact a St. Louis Divorce and Mediation Attorney for Support
At the J. Rench Law Firm, we help clients in a wide variety of circumstances. Whether you have young kids or grown kids, and whether you have been married for one year or thirty years, we understand that the divorce process is never an easy one. You should not have the stress of the legal process on your shoulders. Instead, call 314-725-4000 or contact us online to schedule an appointment and learn how we can help in your situation.