Growing Senior Divorce Rates Trigger Financial Uncertainty

Posted on Jul 31, 2012

Although overall U.S. divorce rates have been declining a little in the last twenty years, some groups have experienced a counter-trend. Divorces among older Americans have been rising steadily.

Statistics show that people over age 50 accounted for about 10 percent of all divorces in 1990. That ration rose to 25 percent by 2009, and there is no sign that the trend will reverse. Currently, more than half a million seniors file for divorce each year.

One of the factors behind the growing divorce rate for seniors may be the failure of successive marriages. Studies show that people who remarry after a divorce are much more likely to divorce again. A recent study from Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family & Marriage Research Center found that remarriages account for half of the divorces in the over-50 population.

The new research does not attempt to explain the causes of this trend, but it refers to earlier studies on rising senior divorce rates. Sociological studies have found that infidelity and financial concerns are less likely to be factors in a divorce for older couples than for younger. Some experts have speculated that today’s seniors, as part of the Baby Boom generation, believe marriage was a vehicle for self-expression and personal fulfillment, and that these unrealistic expectations made marriage seem unfulfilling once the children had grown and moved out of the house.

Economic Impacts

Financial planners across the United States have taken notice of the trend, if only because many of their clients who expected a comfortable married retirement have found their plans suddenly upended. Living expenses for two single persons often are greater than those for a married couple. It can be challenging for an older American to return to the workforce if money runs short.

According to Jeffrey Sullivan, a financial advisor and partner with HighTower Advisors in Westchester County, New York, successfully weathering an unexpected divorce late in life involves keeping financial plans in mind at all times. Whenever possible, negotiate with your spouse for a divorce settlement with which you both can live. “You really don’t want a stranger like a judge to be deciding who gets what,” he told reporters.

Planning for Your Future Life

If you are facing divorce after age 50 as a North Carolina resident, the Wilmington divorce attorneys of Speaks Law Firm are ready to help you make the transition back to single life. Contact us at 910-341-7570 or toll-free at 877-593-4233 for answers to your questions about retaining pension benefits and protecting assets after your marriage ends.

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