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Divorce rates on the rise for Americans age 50+

The divorce rate rises with age - or at least that's what new data suggests. The divorce rate is up among couples age 50 and older, commonly referred to as "gray divorce." While most people think of divorce and family law as involving child custody battles and visitation rights, a rising divorce rate among older Americans brings new considerations to the table.

In the last decade or two before retirement, working couples are often more focused on providing for their retirement accounts than for their children's future. Retirement assets, property and 401(k)s bring the most conflict when divorcing later in life. Why is the divorce rate so high among Baby Boomers?

Relationship experts point to instability early in a marriage as a key indicator to divorce after age 50. That is to say: relationship issues tend to re-emerge as a couple ages from newlyweds without children to parents and back to empty nesters. Second and third marriages were also more likely to end in divorce than first marriages.

While we might know why divorce happens after age 50 and what those people care about, we often overlook what happens after divorce. Divorced women who are nearing retirement are economically vulnerable after divorce. A family law attorney can help women ensure that a divorce settlement is fair to both parties.

Nationwide trends, local considerations

Alabama requires a waiting period of 30 days from the date of the filing to the final agreement. A couple must be separated for two years or cite an "irretrievable breakdown" of marriage as grounds for divorce. Although marital issues that lead to divorce could linger for years before a couple separates, the legal process can happen relatively quick.

Women should speak to a family law attorney as soon as the divorce is imminent to ensure economic security after a marriage ends. This notion is especially relevant in three marital situations:

  • A spouse took time off work to raise children or care for an aging parent.
  • The husband earns significantly more in his career.
  • One spouse is entitled to a trust or inheritance.

Gray divorce means a lifestyle lived for 20 or more years is coming to an end. Although the future may be uncertain, it does not have to be insecure. By following the advice of a family law attorney, divorcing women can ensure that their graying years are a little more golden.

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