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Divorce for older adults has financial, social implications

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2018 | Divorce, Firm News |

Nebraska adults who are 50 and older may be divorcing at higher rates than older people in previous generations. Since 1990, the divorce rate for people in that age bracket has doubled, and it is three times higher than it was in 1990 for people 65 and older.

Experts have speculated about reasons older adults might be divorcing in rising numbers, tying it to the empty nest syndrome after children leave home or to retirement. However, in studies, there was not a correlation between divorce and these events. How satisfied people are with the quality of their marriage appears to be the main predictor of divorce, although there are several other risk factors. For example, first marriages are less likely to end in divorce than subsequent marriages. There is a 60 percent higher chance that a woman whose parents divorced will in turn get a divorce, and for men there is a 35 percent higher chance. Furthermore, the longer a marriage lasts, the less likely it is to end in divorce.

Despite this, even couples who have been together for decades sometimes get divorced. As people get older, they may already be struggling with social isolation, and divorce can further increase that isolation. There might be financial issues as well. Compared to men, women at or over 65 are 80 percent more likely to live in poverty after they divorce.

People who get a divorce near retirement may need to be particularly careful about finances. They will not have as much time to replenish a retirement account as younger people would. People in this age group may also have significant assets. However, even if the property division situation is a complex one, the couple may still prefer negotiation over litigation. There may be several advantages such as lower cost, less time and a more flexible solution that suits both individuals.