According to new data the trend known as “grey divorce” appears to be picking up steam. The numbers of senior divorces in the country continues to grow and with the baby boomers aging the amount will likely 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 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 trend are hard to nail down and include everything from the larger number of older people, the age those people are living to, a greater acceptance of divorce, rising female empowerment and an increased emphasis on living a happy life.
Regardless of the cause, the trend has important financial implications for those going through a late in life divorce. 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. There’s a magnification to dividing bills and separate households are much more expensive to run than half of a marital household.
Beyond living expenses are the ordinary 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. Make sure you have a divorce attorney on your side; you want someone experienced and capable of handling things as amicably as possible.
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 have questions about a divorce proceeding and would like to speak to a divorce attorney, contact us at (904) 685-1200.