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What’s behind the ‘gray divorce’ phenomenon?

While the overall divorce rate in the U.S. has been declining, “gray divorce” is on the rise, accounting for about a quarter of all divorces. A half century ago, less than 3 percent of people in this country over 50 were divorced. Currently, more than 15 percent of people in that age group have ended their marriages.

The overall acceptance of divorce is no doubt one reason for this phenomenon. Further, by the time many people reach their senior years, they’ve already been through one or two divorces. That puts them at greater risk for yet another one.

Increased longevity is a primary reason for this phenomenon. By the time that couples’ kids have graduated from college and started their own families, they likely have at least a two or three more decades of active life ahead of them. That’s a long time to be in an unhappy or unfulfilling marriage.

Today, many women entering their later decades have been working most of their adult lives. That gives them a financial independence that their mothers and grandmothers didn’t have. Further, the idea of living on their own isn’t as daunting as it was for women of previous generations.

While older couples who divorce generally don’t have young children to worry about, there are still issues of family dynamics to consider. Holidays, family events and grandchildren’s games, recitals and graduations can always be challenging, particularly if the divorced spouses have difficulty being in the same place together.

Gray divorces bring unique challenges. Retirement planning can be thrown into disarray. Social Security benefits need to be considered. There may be multiple properties and considerable assets to divide. Your estate plan will likely need to be amended. An experienced Nevada family law attorney can provide crucial legal guidance and work to ensure that you are financially secure as you enter this new phase of your life.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Gray divorce: Why your grandparents are finally calling it quits,” Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett, Sep. 28, 2016

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