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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce lawyersDespite the common misconception that divorces are rising throughout the United States, divorce rates have been declining since reaching a peak rate in the late 1970s, when about 50% of marriages ended in divorce. Today, with the use of advanced technology and increased intel, organizations can track divorce statistics within specific age demographics.

According to studies conducted by the Pew Research Center, divorce rates have risen exponentially among Americans 50 years or older. Since 1990, divorce rates among U.S. adults over the age of 50, have more than doubled. If you believe that divorce is the right choice for you, it may be time to explore your options.

Why The Rise?

With the rise in divorces among Americans over the age of 50, many people are wondering why. There are many reasons why couples elect to separate, and for this specific age demographic there are a number of common reasonings:


Posted on in Divorce

Society tends to think of divorce as a "younger" generation issue - one that plagues couples who jumped in too fast, failed to discuss the important details, or were unable to weather life's storms together. Yet, this is not the case. In fact, statistics indicate that the rate of divorce for couples over the age of 50 has more than doubled over the last two decades. Does this mean they are too late for divorce? Is it possible that they have found some sort of secret fountain of youth? Or are these couples simply embracing retirement by making a fresh, new start?

Driving Forces Behind Later-Life Divorce

While the reasons behind later-life divorces are often multifaceted and as unique as each individual couple, experts believe the biggest driving forces are longer lives, better health, and more financial independence among women. People are living well into their 80s and 90s, and often with fewer years of disability. This generation of retirees (the "Baby Boomers") are also the first generation with a strong female workforce. In fact, many of them have been working since they were young and may even have retirement accounts of their own. Because of this, they are in a better position to financially support themselves after a divorce.


Over the last decade, the divorce rate for those over the age of 50 has more than doubled. The trend is spurred, in part, by the longer, healthier lives that many adults are living today. However, societal shifts and marital changes that come about after the children have left the nest are also thought to be contributing factors. Whatever the reasons, there is an important warning that "gray" divorcees should heed before filing the paperwork: prepare and plan because the financial impact of a later-life divorce could lead to poverty.

Retirement, Age, and Lack of Resources a Major Problem

Most couples-including those that divorce later in life-split assets and financial resources during the divorce process, and this extends to retirement assets, such as 401K plans and nest eggs that a couple may have spent years building. Designed to work for both parties when they stay together, that splitting of resources can have a significant impact on how one or both individuals live once the divorce is over. This is especially true if one or both have already reached the age of retirement and are unable to return to the workforce.

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