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Increasing numbers of older couples divorcing

An increasing number of married couples over the age of 50 are getting a divorce, both in Michigan and nationwide. Statistics reveal that over 25 percent of those getting a divorce recently are over the age of 50.

A study conducted on the subject by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research discovered that approximately 50 percent of those in this age group getting divorced had been in a second or subsequent remarriage. Approximately 66 percent of all such later-in-life divorces are initiated by the wife rather than the husband, with many spouses indicating that they had been unhappy for years in the marriage.

The changing role of women in society may have done much to empower older women to feel that ending a marriage is a realistic option for them. More women work after their middle ages than they did so previously, and it is more common for them to have their own networks of friends and acquaintances outside of the marriage.

Another factor may be increased life spans, since more people have seen their peers of the same age divorce and go on to build new lives for themselves. Increased tolerance and flexibility about divorce, including among organized religions, may also be playing a role. Some speculate that the general culture among baby boomer generation members, who have typically been more willing to challenge the outmoded traditions of the past, may be encouraging older people today to take a chance and make a new start.

The older people are when they get divorced, the more likely it may be that they will need an attorney. An experienced lawyer will be to help sort through years of finances and assets, as well as any issues concerning any children that a couple may share.

Source: The Journal Gazette, "The gray divorce," Emma Downs, April 15, 2012

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