While the divorce rate in the U. S. has been decreasing since its peak in the 1980’s, divorce rates for those over the age of 50 is at an all-time high. The divorce rate for this age group has doubled in the past 20 years. There are many reasons for this trend, including longer life expectancy, the increased financial independence of women, changing cultural values and the aging of the “me” generation of baby-boomers.
The causes of gray divorces are varied. According to a 2004 AARP study of midlife divorce
, the most common reasons given were abuse, infidelity, falling out of love, use of alcohol and drugs, and different lifestyles. Spouses who become “empty nesters” when their children leave home can find it difficult to find common ground.
Those who divorce later in life have fewer remaining years in the workforce. This means reduced opportunity to accumulate assets post-divorce. Therefore, making sound financial decisions is critical to both parties’ future well-being. Valuing and dividing retirement plans, securing affordable medical insurance coverage for both parties, establishing and funding separate households, and analyzing cash flow at retirement require expert legal and financial advice.
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