March 08, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Late in life divorce phenomenon still growing
Article provided by Evashevski, Elliott, Cihak & Hediger, PC
Visit us at http://www.eechlaw.com
"Late-life divorce." "Baby boomer divorce." No matter what name you use, the fact remains that one segment of our population has seen its divorce rate rise exponentially: couples over the age of 50. The rate of divorce in that demographic has more than doubled since 1990, and the phenomenal rise isn't showing any sign of slowing.
Dissolutions of long-term marriages are different because they most often involve couples who have been married for 20 years or more, have adult children, have already gone through the proverbial "good times and bad" and have grown apart to the point where a divorce seems inevitable. Even accounting for the fact that some of those getting divorced after age 50 have been married previously, and subsequent marriages do have a higher divorce rate than first-time marriages, financial and legal experts are still unsure of what exactly is driving the late-life divorce movement.
Though it is impossible to pinpoint one precise cause for the uptick in divorce rates for mid-life couples, contributing factors include:
-Longer life span, often culminating in one spouse becoming ill and the other spouse taking on a caretaker role (or one spouse taking on the caretaker role for his or her own elderly parent)
-Desire for personal growth, particularly when one spouse has been the homemaker while the other has been employed, perhaps best characterized as "empty nest syndrome"
-Differing opinions on retirement
-Economic stressors like unemployment or the loss of invested retirement funds
-Loss of loved ones
Divorce is hard for all couples, even young ones who don't have the same kind of decades-long financial and social entanglements that older couples do. A key difference between the two age groups, though, is the impact that a late-life divorce will have on the future retirement plans of each spouse.
Couples divorcing in their 20s or 30s literally have decades in which to rebuild a retirement nest egg following the financial blow of a divorce, but for couples in their 50s and 60s (who might have planned to retire in the next couple of years), that dream could be impossible. Retirement funds earned during the marriage will - in an "equitable distribution" state like Oregon - be divided fairly between the parties, thus funding two separate retirements instead of one, something that could tax even the best-laid estate plans.
There are also the difficulties associated with having adult children who feel they should take a "side" if the divorce turns ugly, the risk of having to sell accumulated property (like real estate, art collections or classic cars, just to name a few) at a loss in order to reach a property settlement agreement in a down market, and medical expenses if one party has a chronic or terminal illness.
What to do?
The decision to divorce is a difficult one, and it should be taken very seriously regardless of the age at which it occurs. If you or a loved one is considering ending a marriage, it is important to examine the social, financial and emotional angles before making a final decision. An experienced family law attorney can give you the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision about whether to end your marriage and can assist you in protecting your interests so that you receive a fair share of the marital estate.---
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