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Divorcing at an older age

Although statistics suggest that the rate of divorce may be stabilizing across the US, one demographic is experiencing in increase in divorce rates. Americans aged 50 and older in Massachusetts and elsewhere are turning to divorce now, more than ever before.


A professor at a leading university asserts that in 1990, less than one out of every ten people who filed for divorce were age 50 or older; today, that number has skyrocketed to one in four. 

Although the reasons for filing for divorce at a later age may differ for each individual, older adults who are ending their marriages share some commonalities. 

One is a more complex division of marital property, as each spouse may have accumulated a diverse set of assets over the course of their lives.  

Sociologists suggest that there are many factors that lead older Americans to seek divorce. Many have stayed in lackluster marriages as their children have grown to adulthood, believing that prolonging the split would be easier on their children. Another approach on aging suggests that 50 may be the new 30. Unhappy spouses recognize that they have the potential for longevity, recognizing that there may be a long road ahead plagued by unhappiness in their existing marriage. 

Additionally, more women are now engaged within the workforce, and are no longer financially dependent upon their husbands for financial stability. The American Association of Retired Persons supports this theory, pointing out that women over age 50 initiate divorce more often than men. It was once believed that people approaching retirement age were disinterested in romantic entanglements, seniors today enjoy a wider range of dating opportunities as well as decreased social stigma attached to dating after 50.

Couples who decide to split later in life confront a range of issues far different from their counterparts in their 20s or 30s. Social Security benefits, retirement accounts, pensions, stock options, investment funds, businesses, real estate and other assets need to be carefully considered throughout the divorce process.

Older adults in Massachusetts need to take into consideration how the division of marital property will affect their retirement plans as well as their future stability. Those who study divorce statistics and trends expect the number of older adults filing for divorce to continue to rise. In fact, over the next 20 years, it is predicted that there may be a 25 percent increase in divorce filings among Americans who are more 50 years old.

If you, or someone you know is considering divorce or going through a divorce, call an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of David M. Gabriel & Associates to schedule a consultation.

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