The divorce rate of people over 50 years old has doubled since 1990. Sociologists studying the phenomenon presented their research findings at the Ohio State University earlier this week. They also found that more often than not, the divorces are initiated by the wife.
Infidelity or abuse used to be the common reasons women would seek a divorce. But now, older women who have raised their children are seeking a new start and a more enjoyable second half of their life.
Remarkably, the divorce rate during the same time period has remained stable, which means the Generation X-ers are staying married and the children of Baby Boomers have more stable marriages than their parents did. Regardless of age, the research found that the meaning of marriage has also changed drastically. Nowadays, people get married believing that marriage will bring them personal fulfillment.
Usually, if you've been divorced once already, you are more likely to divorce again, the research found. Probably because you know you can survive and know that a divorce is not the end of the world.
Some specific considerations for older divorcing couples may include how to equally and fairly distribute retirement funds, pension plans, stocks, 401ks, property and debts. If one of the spouses did not work, there is a strong likelihood that alimony may be ordered. Unraveling and re-writing separate wills, trusts and estate plans will also need to be completed. While child support may not be an issue for older couples, determining who will claim the children on their tax returns or pay for health insurance may be issues that need to be considered.
Source: 10tv.com, "Growing Numbers Seek Divorce After Age 50," April 18, 2012