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Divorce is on the rise for Americans 50 and older

In the past, many older couples chose to stay in marriages that they were miserable in because of the way society and religion frowned upon divorce. However, the times have changed, and even the pope is considering easing the Catholic church's long-held position that divorce is a sin.

Over the past couple of decades, the divorce rate among the 50 and older demographic doubled, and more than doubled for couples over the age of 65. No one can be sure exactly why the baby boomer generation has changed the face of divorce, but there are many experts who are willing to offer ideas.

Sociologists Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin at Bowling Green State University have conducted extensive research on the issue and have concluded that people today may have greater expectations for their marriages, and when those expectations are not met, they are more willing to walk out the door.

Another factor that is likely contributing to this willingness to leave unhappy marriages has to do with the newfound financial success and autonomy of women, researchers say. In the past, most women were financially dependent on their husbands, giving them no choice but to stay.

Today, many women have careers outside of the home and can provide for themselves if their marriages should end. In fact, divorce today tends to be initiated by women among all age demographics.

Finally, researchers point out that Americans today are living longer than ever before, which could prompt some people nearing retirement age to decide that they don't want to spend decades more of their lives with spouses who they are unhappy with.

Whatever the reason, the divorce rate among the baby boomer generation is growing and people ending their marriages after the age of 50 need to be conscious of some unique issues such as retirement, alimony and health insurance that apply.

No matter what your age, it's important to work with a divorce lawyer who can make sure all important issues in your case are identified and resolved.

Source: The Washington Post, "Till Death Do Us Part? No way. Gray Divorce on the Rise" Brigid Schulte, Oct. 8, 2014

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