According to new data the trend known as “gray divorce” appears to be picking up steam. The numbers of late in life divorces in the country continues to grow and with the baby boomers aging the amount is set to rise even faster.
Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin at Bowling Green State University's National Center for Family & Marriage Research Center conducted research that indicated the divorce rate among those over 50 years old had doubled between 1990 and 2009. This shocking figure was true even for those over the age of 65, proving that it is not a phenomenon limited to divorce-prone boomers.
These same researches are predicting that the trend will only continue to escalate. The reason they cite is that those who have already been through one marriage and are now remarried are more than 2.5 times more likely to divorce again than those who are still on their first marriage.
The reasons for the increase are hard to nail down and include everything from the larger number of older people, increased life expectancy, a greater acceptance of divorce, rising female empowerment and an increased emphasis on living a happy life. Many seniors who stayed together because divorce wasn’t socially acceptable can now divorce without feeling as though they’ll scandalize their family.
For seniors, the children have almost surely left the nest, and there are no custody or support matters to grapple with. And while divorce is typically a serious and stressful experience, many seniors are discovering that divorce can be a simpler process due to the lack of contentious children’s issues.
The gray divorce phenomenon isn’t without costs, particular financial ones. The first thing to understand is that single life can be expensive. It’s not a simple matter of splitting all the bills in half. Separate households are much more expensive to run than half of a marital household. Many seniors are on fixed incomes, and it’s harder for them to recover from financial shocks. As such, divorcing seniors need to know what standard of life they can expect after divorce; and, if necessary, make financial adjustments to minimize their risks.
Beyond living expenses are the legal expenses associated with divorce. New legal documents will need to be drafted, often more than if you had divorced at a younger age. Wills will need to be redone, health directives, insurance polices, etc. Many husbands and wives name their spouse as the beneficiary of their estate, but after divorce, this will need to change. Make sure you have a skilled Ohio divorce attorney on your side; you want someone experienced and capable of handling things amicably.
It’s also important to take stock of where you’re at financially. Who owns what? Get your name off credit cards and other debt obligations if possible. You don’t want any more ties than necessary to someone you will no longer be spending your life with. Make copies of all the financial statements you can find in the house and get comfortable with what the numbers look like. Sometimes one spouse is unaware of the real financial state of affairs and this is a good time to quickly get up to speed.
Finally, a special concern for those facing a late in life divorce involves future payments. If one party is entitled to future payments as part of the settlement (alimony, for instance), make sure that there is life and disability insurance in place to make sure that spouse responsible has the means to finish paying the obligation.
If you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce, contact an experienced Ohio family law attorney who can help guide you through the difficult process. Count on the expertise of Twinsburg family law attorney Carol L. Gasper.
Source: “Financial Safeguards Needed as Senior Divorces Soar,” by Philip Moeller, published at Yahoo.com.
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