November 30, 2012

Divorce After 50 -- the Growing Trend of Gray Divorce
-- New findings show that the chance of divorce for married seniors has grown and will continue to grow. --

    November 30, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- It can be disconcerting when an older person divorces. Family and friends may have concern for his or her well being -- emotionally, physically and financially. And if the marriage was decades long, there may be surprise at the unexpected split during the supposedly "golden years" of a couple that kept their personal problems private.

But new findings show that the chance of divorce for married seniors has and will continue to grow. Two sociologists at Bowling Green State University, Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin, have performed significant analysis of recent U.S. Census Bureau data and their conclusions shed more light on the divorce trends of older Americans. The study was based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 1990 data and more recent annual American Community Surveys.

Some of their major observations and findings include:
- Overall, the United States divorce rate is the highest of any country.
- More than 600,000 Americans age 50 or older were divorced in 2010.
- For that age group, the divorce rate doubled in the two decades between 1990 and 2010, and the rate is expected to continue to increase.
- Of all 2010 divorces, about one-quarter of them were in the 50-plus age group.
- The older generation is now comprised of aging Baby Boomers; they have entered into second and subsequent marriages at a higher rate than previous generations; and subsequent marriages are more likely to end in divorce than are first marriages.
- Women's growing financial independence and ability to obtain meaningful jobs correlates to growing rates of divorce among older couples.
- Longer life expectancies also correlate with rising gray divorce rates.
- Divorcing seniors tend to be those with less education than their peers.
- Divorce is more likely in older couples when unemployment is part of the household picture.
- The divorce rate of senior African Americans is much higher than that of other ethnic groups.

The researchers raise concerns about "how divorce in later life is linked to well-being," noting that more research needs to be done around that problem. Logically, younger family members will be concerned about elders suddenly living alone or without the physical and financial support of former spouses. Likewise, governmental social service agencies and nonprofits may be faced with greater demand for support of these newly single seniors.

From a legal standpoint, anyone in their older years facing divorce should consult with an experienced family law attorney. Issues of property and debt division and of spousal support may need to be carefully handled to see that sufficient assets are there in retirement.

Article provided by The Divorce and Family Law Offices of Wakenight and Associates P.C.
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