A recent study conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University found the divorce rate is rising among people who are ages 55 years and older.
Unlike the national rates, which have declined in recent years. According to the study, more than one out of every four divorced persons in 2010 was over the age of 50. In 1990, that number was less than one in 10 people. During the 10-year period for which the study was conducted, the divorce rate doubled. It increased from 4.9 divorced people per 1,000 married people in 1990 to 10.1 in 2010.
Researchers and experts attribute this increase to a number of different factors. Some of the likely reasons for the rise in gray divorces include:
- Couples over the age of 55 have often been married for multiple decades, raised a family and retired. Entering this age range, people may find that they have grown apart and no longer share any common interests.
- More people, ages 55 and older, are not on their first marriage. Remarriages have been shown to be more likely to end in divorce.
- Women are more financially independent now than they have been previously. This allows women to choose to exit a marriage without risking poverty.
- Today’s society is more individualistic, which can make it difficult to maintain a marriage.
- People are living longer than ever before, decreasing the chances that a marriage will end due to death. As a result, more and more people are choosing to divorce rather than spend what could be their lengthy retirement and twilight years in an unhappy marriage.
All of these factors are in addition to divorce having become more common in the U.S. on the whole. This has led to an increased acceptance of divorce by baby boomers according to the study.
When people ages 55 or older choose to divorce, there are often a number of issues that have to be settled. This can include retirement accounts and funds, alimony, business interests and social security benefits. For this reason, assistance from an experienced family law attorney is a must.