It is no longer rare for people to divorce after decades of marriage. While the overall divorce rate in the United States is at its lowest point since the 1970s, divorce among older Americans is on the rise. Nowadays, about 1 in 4 divorces are couples over the age of 50, making the 50+ demographic the largest segment of the divorced population. Since 1990, the number of older Americans seeking a divorce has more than doubled, and the figures are only expected to increase. Here’s what you need to know about divorce after 50 years old.
How Do We Explain The Divorce After 50 Revolution?
Several reasons have been offered to explain the increase in divorces among older Americans. People get married for the first time at a much older age than they did 100 years ago. We are also living longer and realize we still have a lot of life to live at 50 and beyond. Of course, compared to other generations, the Baby Boomers make up a disproportionately large proportion of the general population as well.
There are other factors that contribute to couples divorcing later in life. Many longtime married couples are “staying together for the kids” and operate more like roommates. Once their children are grown and out of the house, the need for a divorce becomes more apparent. Finally, many of those seeking a divorce after 50 are on their second (or third) marriage. Subsequent marriages have a much lower success rate than first marriages, with about two-thirds of second marriages and three-fourths of third marriages ending in divorce.
Tips for Surviving Divorce After 50
Getting a divorce later in life comes with some unique issues and considerations. Ensuring you are prepared for retirement is a primary concern in these divorces, whereas it may only be an afterthought for younger families. However, there are some “advantages” to divorcing at an older age. Mainly, you are less likely to find yourself embroiled in a contentious custody battle. Here are some ways you can make the best of a tough situation:
- Reach out to your community. If you and your ex have been a couple for decades, it can be awkward to step out as a newly single person. Don’t let this stop you from keeping in touch with mutual friends and staying active in the community. Make sure you have someone to talk to but don’t vent to your adult children (they are probably struggling with your divorce, too).
- Carefully consider all financial decisions. If you are past the mid-life point, now is not the ideal time to start over financially. The conscientious division of pensions, IRA accounts, 401k’s, insurance policies, and other assets is especially important as you and your spouse prepare for retirement. You can expect a slight dip in living standards post-divorce, but a skilled family law attorney can help you protect your interests.
- Talk to a professional. The first step when approaching a divorce at any age is to consult a divorce lawyer. You may also want to confer with a CPA to discuss the ramifications your divorce may have on your tax bill as well. Finally, do not be afraid to reach out to a mental health counselor for help with the emotional transition of ending a longtime marriage.
Considering Divorce? Call a South Carolina Divorce Attorney
If you are considering a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, it is important to contact a divorce attorney as soon as possible. Serving Mt. Pleasant, Charleston, and surrounding areas, the attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC have years of experience helping families navigate tough situations. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (843) 216-8860.