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Baby boomers make gray divorce commonplace

Baby boomers have always been known for their trendsetting mindsets and are again making a statement, this time in divorce court. New York residents may have heard about a poll by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) indicating that ‘gray divorce” is on the rise as those over the age of 50 opt to go it alone. While national divorce rates have declined, according to the National Center for Family & Marriage, middle-aged and older adults are divorcing at double the rate they were two decades ago.

The reasons behind the increased divorce rate in this age group vary. People are now living longer, offering the opportunity to chase new dreams. The fact that many of these are second marriages, statistically more likely to end in divorce, may contribute to the higher divorce rate. Women are more established in their careers and financially independent, making it less essential to depend on their partner for financial support.

Divorcing baby boomers present unique challenges. Given the length of some of these marriages, it is not surprising that couples fight over the division of assets they established together. Gray divorces are more complicated with respect to financial factors such as social security benefits and retirement funds. Business interests also create tension, especially when a spouse may have invested significant effort or money in the business. Finally, with children generally out of the house, alimony takes the place of child support as the most contentious issue.

On the upside, maturity may make it easier to come to an amicable arrangement between spouses. Working with an attorney while keeping focus of new priorities may help baby boomers navigate the divorce process and move on to the next stage of life.

Source: Huff Post Divorce, “Gray Divorce Is On The Rise, According To New Data“, June 12, 2013

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