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Divorces on the rise among older couples

In general, divorce rates in Texas and other parts of the country have fallen off over the years. The one big exception to this trend is with older couples. So-called "gray divorces" have more than doubled over the past 25 years. And it's not just older couples in second marriages experiencing this phenomenon. In fact, more than half of all older-couple splits involve individuals who were married for 20 years or more.

As for why gray divorce rates are on the rise, there are a number of possible contributing factors. For some older spouses, the sense of happiness and fulfillment is more important today then it was when they were first wed. The stigma attached to divorce is also disappearing. And women no longer have as much incentive to stay in a bad marriage for economic reasons because of increased opportunities and options. Plus, the increased acceptance of online dating has likely played a role in the ability of older couples to seek better relationships.

With long-term marriages that come to an end, alimony is often granted for the lower-earning spouse to help them transition to a new phase of life. Retirement money also tends to be significantly reduced; although, this loss may be lessened with the right approach to asset division. Additionally, older divorcing spouses are often advised to carefully weigh their options with the marital home since it may become an unexpected burden if upkeep costs are excessive.

Some older couples have very few disagreements as they divorce. Even so, an attorney is often able to provide valuable guidance when it comes to the asset division process. Should a dispute arise, it can be equally beneficial for a soon-to-be ex to work with a lawyer who may be able to mediate disagreements or work out a fair settlement.

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