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Divorce rates among older couples is higher than one may think

The prospect of getting older can be a mixed blessing. One may not look forward to aging, though many people see their later years in a more positive light. As one's working life begins to wind down, it can lead to the ability to spend more time with loved ones, or to pursue the hobbies for which one previously had no time. For an increasing number of California residents, it can mean re-evaluating an unhappy marriage and considering divorce.

Often, a relationship can stumble along for many years; perhaps not quite bad enough to end, but not fulfilling enough to want to continue with it indefinitely. There are many reasons why a couple may choose to remain in this kind of limbo. Parents, in particular, may feel that it is better to stay together for the sake of their children, especially if there is no real acrimony between the parties. There may come a time, however, when one spouse decides that his or her future may be better faced alone.

On the face of it, it may seem that younger couples are more likely to divorce than older ones. The rate of divorce among couples aged over 50 is more than five times the level it was 50 years ago; since 1990, it has more than doubled. Greater life expectancy and better health among older people are possible contributing factors. In addition, it is more common for older couples to have been married more than once; statistically, these marriages are at higher risk of divorce than first marriages.

Whatever the reason for contemplating divorce, it requires careful consideration and planning. Retirement plans may be affected by the division of assets, as well as insurance and health care policies. While financial matters can be complicated, with the appropriate advice it is possible for California residents to move toward the next chapter with a new lease on life.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Gray divorce: Why your grandparents are finally calling it quits", Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett, Sept. 28, 2016

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