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Why are more older Americans divorcing?

A recent study helps disprove the notion that love is sweeter the second, or even third, time around. This at least, according to a recent study by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, appears to be true when it comes to married couples in the U.S. who are age 50 and older.

According to the study, since 1990, the U.S. divorce rate among couples in this age demographic has doubled. Even more surprising, for married couples age 65 and older, the divorce rate has tripled. These numbers represent a significant jump when compared against the divorce rates for couples over age 50 in 1990 when only roughly 10 percent of couples in this age demographic filed for divorce.

For every couple, the factors that contribute to a divorce are often complex and somewhat unique. However, when analyzing the data from this study, researchers note several issues that are likely contributing to the significant increase in divorce rates among older Americans.

One of the most likely factors relates to the percentage of divorcees who were previously divorced. Among men over the age of 50 who divorce, 59 percent had been married at least once before. The challenges associated with second, third and fourth marriages are well documented as subsequent marriage bear the obligations and strains of children from previous marriages as well as the general physical and financial issues that frequently accompany the aging process.

Additionally, another significant factor in the high divorce rate among older Americans relates to the fact that women today tend to be more financially independent and successful. With a significant percentage of U.S. women obtaining college degrees and working outside the home, women are much less dependent on men for their financial stability and security.

Both men and women are also living longer and are therefore less likely to settle for a partner and life with which they are not happy, even if this means being single. Whatever the case may be, later-in-life divorces tend to be more complicated with regard to the division of marital property and assets. It's important, therefore, to ensure that a divorce attorney has successfully handled these types of cases.

Source: Daily Mail, "Over 50s fuel U.S. divorce revolution: Record number of older couples break up with a quarter now splitting up later in life," Jennifer Newton, Nov. 3, 2015

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