“Gray” Divorces Increase

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Gray divorcee | Divorce AttorneyAmericans who thought they were “safe” from divorce—those who had been married 20, 30, 40 years—may now need to think again.

A recent article from The New York Times reports that “gray divorces,” or divorces that occur among those aged 50 and older, are on the rise. Today, more Americans over 50 are divorced than widowed: “In 2011, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 15.4 percent were divorced and another 2.1 percent were separated. Some 13.5 percent were widowed.”

In contract, only 2.8 percent of the over-50 set were divorced 50 years ago.

In fact, gray divorces have increased even as overall divorce rates have stabilized. According to the article, half of the married population is over 50, which makes this trend particularly significant.

Why are baby boomers increasingly getting divorced? The trend can likely be attributed to longer life spans, increased acceptance of divorce, higher expectations for marriage, and the fact that many baby boomers are on their second or third marriage (which, statistically, has a higher likelihood for divorce).

For those over 50, divorce often creates more challenges than for younger people. There is likely more marital property involved, including homes and retirement benefits, and children from the marriage. The divorcing couple may have more complicated issues regarding property division, spousal support, and, depending on the age of the children, child custody.

While it’s still true that the longer a couple remains married, the less likely they are to divorce, a long marriage is not a guarantee that the couple won’t divorce.

If you are over 50 and considering a divorce, you should know that you’re not alone. Many people like you have gotten a divorce and gone on to lead happier lives after. It is important that you talk to a divorce attorney for help, particularly if your divorce is contentious or involves complex issues.

If you have questions about getting a divorce in your 50s and beyond, please feel free to contact me.

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About Julie Clark

Julie M. Clark graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. She has been practicing law in Riverside County since February of 1992. Julie Clark's Google+ Profile

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