Sometimes they waited till the youngest child is out of the home, whether it’s completion of high school or college, or maybe the last one is getting married and the couple had drifted apart emotionally. They’ve basically lived as brother and sister or as roommates in the house but they stayed together primarily for the children. Sometimes they’ve also stayed together for career purposes, but now that they’re empty nesters they realize they have 10, 20, 30 years or more of life and they don’t want to spend it together. It’s not necessarily due to infidelity or drug addiction or alcohol abuse; they’ve just genuinely drifted apart.
The other aspect is sometimes people age differently in terms of activity level. If one of the spouses is still physically very fit, very active, very social, wants to ski or water ski or travel, and the other one is more frail, has health issues, and is a stay-at-home person, they’re really going in different directions. The active person does not want to be saddled with, for lack of a better term, an inactive spouse. They see that they have 10, 20, 30 years of their life and they want to grab it and not be tied down.
The other aspect is when dementia comes into play, whether it’s Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia or a major physical ailment. Not all spouses can cope well when their loved one is seriously physically or mentally ill, and they can’t be there for them, so they do choose to get divorced at that time.
Mary Ann Burmester is a family lawyer practicing in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has more than 25 years of experience in family law. To learn more about Mary and her firm, NM Divorce & Custody Law LLC, visit www.nmdivorcecustody.com.