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All Press Releases for January 08, 2014 »
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Divorce in Pennsylvania: The phenomenon of gray divorce

The term "gray divorce" was first mentioned in a new study conducted by Bowling Green State University.
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    January 08, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- When two people fall in love and get married, they believe that their union is going to last forever. However, over the last several years, older couples have been divorcing at an increasing rate, causing researchers to coin a new phrase - 'gray divorce.'

Gray divorce study

The term was first mentioned in a new study conducted by Bowling Green State University. Released in March of this year, the study looks at divorce rates for people who are over the age of 50. The report reveals that in 2010, the number of people in this age range who had gotten a divorce that year reached over 600,000 in the U.S. This is a 50 percent increase from divorce numbers in 1990 and researchers say that the trend is expected to continue.

While the study does not seek to explain why older couples are calling it quits, there does seem to be a correlation with the fact that almost half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Divorce first became socially acceptable in the 1970s and 1980s and it is quite possible that many people are on their second or even third marriage, adding to the divorce rates.

Possible theories

The Miami Herald offered some possible theories on why so many older Americans are getting divorced. These theories include:
- Women are no longer financially dependent upon their spouses.
- Divorce has become more acceptable and commonplace in social circles.
- Marriage is individualized with focus on self-fulfillment.
- People are living longer.
- People have been married more than once and remarriages have a higher risk of divorce.

However, these are only theories and it is likely that each plays a role in the failure of a long-term marriage. There are even some who believe that it is an indication of how personal goals and interests change over the years and people who were once deeply in love simply drift apart.

Unique challenges

When older couples decide to divorce, they face challenges and decisions that younger couples do not. One of these challenges, according to USA Today, is retirement. People who have been married for 10 or 20 years have likely planned for their retirement together. A successful couple may have planned to travel the world, pay for their children's education and weddings and spend time at a vacation home. However, going from a retirement plan for a single lifestyle to a retirement plan that supports two individual lifestyles can cost up to 50 percent more.

Another challenge is health. As the body ages, it can start deteriorating and this means that a person could end up requiring long-term care in a facility or see an increase in their medical costs. If one spouse is already experiencing health problems and will be paying some form of spousal support, then Fox Business says that the receiving spouse may want to look at life insurance to make sure that those payments will be made in the event of death.

Going through a divorce at any stage of life can be complex and people should meet with an experienced attorney to discuss their options.

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