For many couples, when a baby arrives, the child becomes the focus of the new parents' life. Suddenly, all plans and activities are done with the baby's best interests at heart, and spousal relationships can shift subtly to take this into effect. This effect doesn't change as the child grows up: For many couples, raising the child is a main focus of their life, and each spouse's relationships and lifestyle slowly evolve to accommodate that fact.
When, after 18 years or so, the child leaves the home to strike out on their own, the transition can cause a sudden shift in the way spouses relate to each other. Suddenly, spouses are faced with new opportunities, and a remarkably quiet home. The transition is a happy occasion for many spouses, but for some it can be difficult.
It's known as "empty nest syndrome," and it's a driving force behind the growing trend of divorce among older, more established marriages. Indeed, more and more couples are divorcing after many years of marriage.
Sometimes, the empty nest simply allows couples to express feelings that have been simmering for years. Other times, the opportunity to focus on new goals and plans reveals that spouses want something drastically different out of the rest of their lives. In some cases, spouses come to the conclusion that these goals would be best be achieved as singles, and decide to separate.
Often, when spouses who have been together for a long period of time decide to divorce, the separation is what is known as a high asset divorce. This is because the couple has accumulated a great number of assets together, including a home, cars, collections and retirement accounts. These items must be carefully considered in the division of property process, to determine the best way to split the assets.
The Huffington Post, "Help, My Grandparents Are Getting a Divorce!" Jim Halfens, Nov. 26, 2013