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Divorce on the rise for older adults

Divorce rates among older couples are on the increase as rates among younger people continue to steady. People at or over the age of 50 were two times as likely to divorce in 2014 than in 1990, and those over 65 were even more likely to do so. In North Carolina and throughout the country, the rise in divorce rates among older people has a number of causes.

One is women's economic stability. Fewer women are looking at a lifetime of poverty on divorce. Another is that people have longer life spans. If they are in an unhappy marriage, even after the age of 65, they do not want to spend several more decades with that person. Older adults are also more likely to have been married before, and this can result in a good deal of strain on the relationship. For example, there may be friction between stepparents and stepchildren.

People today tend to focus more on having a meaningful life after retirement as well. Often, a couple may have spent their adult lives together only to discover they have very different ideas about what retirement should look like.

Older adults who are divorcing might have different issues than younger couples. There might not be custody issues because the children are over the age of 18, but if children are still in college, parents may need to work out how support will continue. Older adults may have accumulated more shared assets over the years, and this could make dividing them more difficult. With retirement nearer, they may both be concerned about protecting their retirement accounts. If the marriage is a second one or the two married when they were older and already owned a number of assets, there might be a prenuptial agreement. An older adult who is divorcing might want to get advice on these and other matters from an attorney who has this type of family law experience.

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