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Older couples explore "gray divorce" in East Texas

It's a commonly held belief that approximately half of all marriages result in divorce. Some Texas readers, however, may be surprised to discover the ages at which some of those marriages are ending. While many believe that divorce is an activity reserved for young couples, in fact an increasing number of older couples are now separating as well. It's a phenomenon known as a gray divorce.

A licensed professional counselor in East Texas said a gray divorce can occur when a couple's relationship no longer has a high priority and the couple is no longer interested in spending time together. She added that these couples might only speak to each other for 15 minutes each week.

One family law attorney stated that after a certain age, many spouses begin to rethink their dreams and goals and reassess whether they want to spend the rest of their lives with their spouse. Often, this moment of questioning comes after the children leave the home, and parents are forced to find a new focus for their attention.

One East Texas therapist recommended that couples seek treatment before considering a divorce. She says that in many cases, marriage trouble can be overcome by investing more time in the spousal relationship.

In some cases, however, spouses may find that their empty-nest goals are simply incompatible. In this case, couples going through a divorce may need help in sorting out any complicating factors in a divorce, such as a history of domestic violence, a prenuptial agreement or the separation of large, jointly-held assets. Often, legal methods such as mediation can simplify and streamline this process, allowing both spouses to quickly move on to a new lifestyle.

Source: KTRE, "'Gray divorces' increasing in East Texas," Michelle Reed, Nov. 16, 2012

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