What to Know About Getting Divorced in Your 40s

Getting divorced in your 40’s is different than if you get divorced earlier in life.

Why Do People Divorce in Their 40s?

Many people think that if a married couple is in their 40s, they will be married forever. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It is becoming more common for people to divorce later in age, and it happens for many reasons. Life expectancies are getting longer, and people sometimes realize they do not want to spend the next 50 years with their spouse. Getting a divorce once the children have left the home is also not uncommon. Sometimes, spouses find that without the kids, they do not really have anything to say to each other anymore.

Regardless of the reason why you are getting divorced in your 40s, there are some unique issues you will face. It is important to know what these are, so you can properly prepare for them.


People who are in their 40s and married have usually been married for a significant amount of time. Alimony is more likely going to be awarded in cases involving long marriages rather than short ones. It is also likely going to be awarded for a longer duration of time. Determining the amount of alimony to pursue becomes more difficult the longer a person has been married. This is because they are also usually quite advanced in their career. As such, it is not only their base salary that has to be determined, but their overall compensation. This can include the following:

  • Bonuses
  • Travel perks
  • Car allowances
  • Executive compensation packages
  • Ownership stakes
  • Stock options

Determining the Value of Marital and Separate Property

As with the majority of states, South Carolina follows equitable distribution law. This means each spouse will receive a fair share in a divorce, but not necessarily an equal share. Only marital property is divided in a divorce, and determining which assets and liabilities fall into that category becomes more difficult the longer a couple is married.

For example, if one spouse has a 401(k) that they had before they were married, and it accumulated much more during the marriage, a portion of the savings would be considered separate while some would be considered marital property. The value of the retirement savings prior to the marriage must be determined, as well as its increase of value during the marriage.


By the time a person is in their 40s, they have often received an inheritance. Although inheritances are typically considered separate property, it is unfortunately not that straightforward. When an inheritance becomes commingled, such as when it is placed into a joint bank account held by both spouses, it becomes marital property. Inheritances can cause other complex issues to arise, as well. For example, a court may consider whether investing an inheritance affects a person’s ability to receive or pay alimony.

Getting Divorced at 40? We Can Help You

Regardless of your age when you get a divorce, every case has the potential to become complex. At The Peck Law Firm, our South Carolina family lawyers can advise on the unique elements of your case and help you obtain the full settlement you are entitled to. Call us today at 843-631-7117 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.