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Gray divorces are on the rise while other divorce rates drop

The number of Americans seeking divorces has dropped in recent years. In fact, a recently published statistical analysis shows that overall divorce rates are down to their lowest point in the last four decades for most demographics in the United States. This drop could be due, in part, to lower marriage rates among the younger generations, as well as a commitment to avoid broken homes among children of divorced parents.

Whatever the cause, the decrease in divorce rates is not universal. There is one demographic in which divorce rates did not decline, and that group is American adults over the age of 55. When older adults divorce, people commonly refer to it has a gray divorce. Gray divorces are now more common than they were just a few years ago.

Why gray divorce is on the rise

The stigma associated with divorce has decreased, with more people considering divorce for incompatibility instead of just severe issues, like abuse or infidelity. Couples who have made it many decades together may now find themselves considering the end of their marriage.

People change as they grow, and older couples nearing retirement may realize that the person they are about to spend their golden years with is not the same person they married. With the distractions of raising children and working a full-time job in the past, couples will likely have to spend more time with one another, which can heighten the awareness of that sense of growing incompatibility.

Gray divorce can help you make the most of your senior years

Spending the last decades of your life trapped in an unrewarding and unhappy marriage doesn't sound like the rest and relaxation you should enjoy during your retirement. You and your spouse, as well as your extended family, may find you are much happier if you decide to end your marriage now rather than trying to stick it out indefinitely despite your unhappiness.

There are special considerations that you need to pay attention to in a gray divorce. For example, the division of your assets, particularly your retirement assets, becomes much more important than it would be for a younger couple with more time to financially rebuild before retirement. Ensuring a fair split of assets such as retirement accounts and pensions will also protect you financially at a time when your income may be about to decrease substantially.

Working with your ex to minimize the cost of your divorce may be more important in a gray divorce than it is for other couples. However, it can offer you an opportunity to keep your costs low and reduce the financial impact of your divorce on both you and your spouse. Mediation or an uncontested divorce filing could be one way in which you and your ex can keep the costs for the end of your marriage as low as possible.

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