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Why "gray divorce" is never black-and-white

The traditional line of thinking concerning divorce has always been that it's predominantly a young person's game, meaning those couples busy working and raising families were perhaps the most prone to marital stress and eventual separation.

However, a groundbreaking study published in 2013 by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University turned this line of thinking on its head after determining that the divorce rate for couples age 50 and over had risen to one in four people from 1990 to 2010.

Here, researchers pointed out that, while shocking, the higher rate of so-called "gray divorce" actually made sense given that 1) baby boomers were the first age demographic to divorce in large numbers in young adulthood, 2) many older people have remarried and subsequent marriages have been shown to be more likely to end, 3) shifting social mores have come to accept divorce, and 4) older spouses are more financially independent and equal in the workplace.

As true as all this is, it's important to remember that divorce can present certain unique issues for older couples to consider. For example, experts indicate that retirement costs can be as much as 40-50 percent higher for individuals than couples.

Furthermore, older divorcing couples will have to address the unique legal considerations posed by:

  • Spousal maintenance (monthly payments v. lump sum)
  • Property division (marital home, retirement accounts, pensions, vacation homes)
  • Debt division (mortgages, credit cards, medical debt)
  • Social Security

In light of all these unique considerations and their somewhat precarious position, it's absolutely imperative that those older people actively considering a divorce take the time to meet with an experienced legal professional who can answer their questions, outline their options and, of course, fight to protect their rights.

Please visit our website today to learn more.

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