Posted on Nov 13, 2012

A recent study has found that while rates of both marriage and divorce are dropping across the United States for younger couples, the number of divorces for older couples is rising at an unprecedented rate. While younger couples are staying married longer, couples who are retired with empty nests are deciding to start over at age 50, 60, or even 70 years old.

Some of the consequences of senior divorce are just coming to light as more couples choose to end their marriages after multiple decades. One of the biggest challenges falls into laps of the adult children of these couples: people who find themselves caring for the health needs and financial needs of two parents in two places.

Seniors who are living alone often need to move into assisted living facilities or into homes with relatives earlier becaue seniors who divorce may have significantly more financial worries than those who stay together. Retirement funds, pensions, and Social Security benefits can be confusing issues for older divorcing couples, while property that has been shared (and paid off) for decades is often sold.

In addition, experts say that if parents remarry, finances and responsibilities can become even more complicated – especially when it comes to adult children who are charged with caring for their parents.

Despite challenges, relationship specialists say that gray divorce makes sense in this day and age: many people are living longer, healthier lives and many women have more freedom and financial independence to free themselves of unhappy relationships. With time and money on their side, many senior divorcees are finding that they have plenty of time to start over even at 50 or 60 years of age.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington