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Trends show rise in divorce among older adults

Statistics show that more older spouses in Kentucky are dealing with the effects of divorce. The divorce rate for the 65-and-older age group has tripled since 1990; for spouses 50 and older, it has doubled.

Divorce can result in both social and financial challenges for this age group. After separating, couples may lose the social ties they had. A single person age 65 or older needs 79 percent of the income of a two-person household, according to a 2014 report from the Government Accountability Office for the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Older divorced women are particularly at risk; they have an 80 percent higher chance of living in poverty once they reach age 65.

Several risk factors can forecast the likelihood of a divorce. First marriages are more likely to last than second marriages. Furthermore, those who had parents who separated are more prone to divorce themselves. Men whose parents divorced have a 35 percent higher chance of meeting the same fate. For women, it is 60 percent higher.

Some people might assume that this age group is vulnerable to divorce because of the dissatisfaction that arises as a result of the empty nest syndrome or retirement. However, studies show that divorce in this age group is not particularly tied to either of these events. Like their younger counterparts, older people often divorce because they are no longer happy spending time with one another.

During the process of property division, divorcees should be aware of these trends and the importance of making sure they have a secure financial situation. For many couples, the biggest assets will be the home and retirement accounts. A lawyer could help a separating spouse obtain a fair divorce settlement.

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Edgewood, KY 41017

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