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Understanding the rising rate of 'gray divorce'

Divorced parents is nothing new among many children, but it can be a weird situation for a Texan to see his or her grandparents getting divorced. Back in the days, hardly anybody got divorced after 20, 30, 40 or 50 years of marriage and beyond. Nowadays, it's likely that an older couple you know is ending their marriage after decades of togetherness. What are the reasons for this growing trend?

"Gray divorce," as it is commonly caused, is the result of new attitudes and lifestyles. We are staying alive longer, which means that many of us want to make the most of our golden years. Once we hit retirement age or once the children have grown and moved out of the house, we may decide that continuing in a dead-end marriage is not in our best interests. There may be grandchildren to visit, places to see and new and exciting adventures that await us.

Another situation impacting the rate of gray divorce is empty nest syndrome. Oftentimes, the world revolves around the children. Once they are grown and gone, there is nothing holding the marriage together. Couples find that they don't get along well with each other, and they have no shared goals.

Plus, no matter how old you are, there are still ways to find new relationships. Facebook had allowed high school sweethearts from several decades ago to rekindle their romance. There are online dating sites tailored specifically to seniors. There are often many community events for seniors, so finding new love interests is not very difficult.

Divorce is no longer the taboo subject that it once was. People are no longer willing to compromise and stay in an unhappy marriage just because they are middle-aged or elderly. It may be an increased feeling of selfishness, but people are focusing on their own happiness instead of what the other spouse wants or what society dictates is right.

A gray divorce, though, can present specific challenges that those who were only married a few years might not experience. Dividing up decades of property, retirement accounts and other assets can be difficult. Experienced family law attorneys can help make this process easier and fairer to those involved.


Source: 
Huffington Post, "Help, My Grandparents Are Getting a Divorce!" Jim Halfens, Nov. 26, 2013

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