Incompatibility and Age Difference: How to Cope with Divorce When Love Does Not Last

Divorce is often seen as something unfortunate that happens to couples who have been together for years, had kids and grown apart. People also think of divorce as an adversarial drama that happens to celebrities or wealthy people who walk away with a big divorce settlement.

The reality is that many marriages do not last, and divorce can happen to much younger or older couples. The singer Adele recently released a “divorce” album, which kick-started a conversation about getting divorced in your twenties and thirties.

People who get divorced after a brief time in their twenties and thirties often face a lot of stigmas about “abandoning” the relationship before the going gets tough. In the wake of the media response to Adele’s divorce, many younger women spoke out about feeling like a failure for getting divorced young. It is not just younger people – older people are also likely to have short marriages. US figures show that 60 % of second marriages end in divorce, which is more than 10 percent higher than the estimated 40% of overall marriages that end in divorce.

Certain demographic and financial factors make it more likely that marriages will last. Financial difficulty can impact marriage stability, for example. The age you get married can also increase or decrease your risk of divorce. According to recent research, people who get married before 32 are more likely to divorce. People who get married much later than that are more likely to divorce. And new research has shown that people with a greater age gap are more likely to divorce. An age gap of three or more years increases your chances of asking for divorce by 38 percent in women who are the younger partner and 87 percent in men who are younger.

If you were to believe the statistics, marital success is tied to hitting that sweet spot in which you make the “right” choices and marry someone the same age as you from a similar economic background. The “average marriage” however is actually not all that average. Most people fall outside the norms in some way. When marriages do not last, or end in your twenties, people face a lot of social stigmas.

Social stigma and a feeling of failure is not all that people who get divorced after a short marriage face. They can also face considerable economic pressure. When you get divorced after a short marriage, you can face reduced alimony, a sharp reduction in your standard of living, increased childcare costs, a reduction in your savings or retirement savings, and even being on the hook for student debt — if it can be proved that the loans were used during marriage or that your spouse’s degree benefitted you. Generally, the shorter the marriage, the shorter the duration of alimony or spousal support. So, you might experience a significant financial shock without the security of a long-term arrangement to get you back on your feet.

Younger people, in particular, might not be as assertive as they should be in their divorce and might not ask for what they may be legally entitled. There may be an assumption that because you had a short-term marriage, your spouse does not “owe” you anything. Yet, after consultation with an experienced divorce attorney, they may be surprised what they may be entitled to or, be more certain, what they may or may not be entitled to so that the divorce is fair and reasonable.

If you are getting divorced after a short-term marriage, more planning may be involved than you might expect. You should talk to a divorce attorney about your options and what you may be entitled to in a divorce settlement. Marriage can make a big dent in anyone’s finances and standard of living. Divorce should be a way of rebuilding your future so you can stand on your own two feet.

At Amaral & Associates P.C., we understand that dealing with these problems during and after a divorce can be challenging. If you or someone you know are thinking about getting a divorce and reside in Massachusetts, please call Amaral & Associates, P.C. at (617) 539-1010 or visit us at for information about what your next steps should be and whether or not mediation or a traditional divorce is the best option for you.

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