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Study: Divorce rate increasing among older Americans

A new report released by researchers at Bowling Green State University points out that divorce among Americans who are 55 or older is increasing.
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    January 18, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Study: Divorce rate increasing among older Americans

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When two people fall in love and decide to get married, they believe that their love will last forever. Marriage was considered a permanent situation in the early part of the 20th century and the idea of divorce was usually viewed as a last resort when a spouse was the victim of abuse or there was infidelity.

However, the Miami Herald points out that today, people have a very different view regarding divorce and even marriage. Marriage is viewed as a relationship that should provide satisfaction and self-fulfillment to both spouses. When spouses find that the marriage does not meet those expectations, then divorce is an acceptable solution.

The trend of gray divorce

A new report released by researchers at Bowling Green State University points out that divorce among Americans who are 55 or older is increasing. The report is based on a review of reports that cover a 20-year period between 1990 and 2010. In 2010, the number of people in this age range who went through a divorce numbered more than 600,000, showing a 50 percent increase from the 206,007 older people who divorced in 1990.

This new trend has been termed gray divorce. Researchers say that the numbers indicate this trend will continue to grow through 2030. The data also showed that remarriages were especially at risk since the previously married spouse had already gone through the divorce experience, showing that he or she was willing to call it quits if a marriage was unsatisfactory. The report did not seek to provide reasons for the increase but cited several possible factors such as increasing financial independence for women, longer lifespans and even declining health.

Retirement and gray divorce

One challenge that an older couple has in going through a divorce later in life is retirement. USA Today states that it could cost 30 percent more for these people to retire, which makes sense because now the retirement plan will have to support two separate lifestyles. This means that people may have to make serious changes to their retirement plan such as:
-Remain in the workforce longer to save enough money to fund the lifestyle the person wants.
-Stop supporting adult children.
-Downsize to a smaller home.
-Cut out the retirement traveling.

Retirement can be especially difficult on women if they have been out of the workforce for a long time or do not have sufficient education or skills to support themselves. Another large challenge older people face is declining health. As the body ages, it becomes more susceptible to disease and disability and this can be financially draining on a retirement plan.

Older adults who are planning to divorce should meet with an experienced attorney who can help them prepare for their transition to single life.

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