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Divorce may still be the right decision even in the golden years

People 50 and older are dissolving their marriages in higher and higher numbers, especially as the baby-boom generation enters its golden years.
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    December 24, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Divorce may still be the right decision even in the golden years

Article provided by Charlton & Glover, P.C.
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Times have changed in many ways, but a significant evolution in our society has been increasingly common acceptance of divorce. Contrary to previous generations, people are more likely to end unhappy or dysfunctional marriages, rather than suffer by staying in them because of societal pressure.

In recent decades, this acceptance of the phenomena of divorce has even spread to some in older generations. Specifically, people 50 and older are dissolving their marriages in higher and higher numbers, especially as the baby-boom generation enters its golden years.

The Bowling Green study

A landmark study of "gray divorce" was completed in 2009 by two sociology professors at Bowling Green State University who looked at U.S. Census data to understand this trend. They made some startling findings:
-The divorce rate for people 50 and up more than doubled from 1990 to 2008.
-In 1990, not even one out of 10 people who got divorced were at least 50; in 2008, more than one-quarter of them were that old.
-The divorce rate for those over 50 will likely rise more because of a high incidence of second or subsequent marriages in that population and remarriages are more likely to end in divorces.

The study notes a few sociological factors that may be involved. The aging of the baby boomers moves them into the elderly population as the generation during which divorce and remarriage rates jumped. Women have grown more self-sufficient and better able to support themselves, making divorce less daunting economically and more financially feasible. Longer life expectancy promises more years in which to be happy after the dissolution of marriage.

Unique legal needs older divorcing spouses

Clearly, from a legal standpoint the issues facing older divorcing spouses cluster around a couple of themes. An elderly person usually cannot or does not prefer to work, so entering into those years financially stable is important. How property, retirement accounts and money is divided in divorce and whether or not spousal support is ordered can make a big difference in the standard of living of both people going forward.

Of course, declining health or at least the need for regular and sometimes increased health care is likely as people age. A divorce settlement or court-ordered arrangement should take this into account by making provision for health insurance and long-term care insurance.

If you are approaching the last decades of your life and are considering ending your marriage, or if you have been approached by your spouse about the idea, talk to an experienced family law attorney to understand what legal issues are important to your situation and what next steps to take.

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