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Why are gray divorce rates increasing in Illinois and elsewhere?

Why are gray divorce rates increasing in Illinois and elsewhere?

Date: October 30, 2012
In: Divorce

Illinois couples may be interested in a surprising statistic. The divorce rate among couples who are 50 or older is increasing phenomenally. Thus a new term has been coined: “gray divorce.”

This particular trend is new enough that it’s hard to find much research on the issue. However, a study conducted in 2004 by the American Association of Retired Persons looked at 1,000 individuals who ended their marriages while in their 40s, 50s and 60s. But the question remains: why are older spouses breaking up?

There are many reasons for the gray divorce phenomenon. But according to the study conducted by the AARP, the major reason for divorce among this age group is not infidelity. Rather, other factors such as individuals wanting to relish their lives or falling out of love are not uncommon. One trigger for divorce for couples of this age is precisely that — their age. Once the children have grown up and settled in their own lives, spouses who have disputes may start to re-evaluate their situation with a sense of future possibility rather than maintaining the family nest.

However, the end of a marriage later in life can present some unique challenges. The AARP study shows that women in particular fear they may face financial hardships. Couples should remember that divorce requires the division of property and financial assets, which are more likely to be complicated when a couple has been married for many years or even decades.

To assist with the challenges of divorce at this (or any) stage in life, Chicago-area residents would do well to consult with a family law attorney with experience in divorce proceedings.

Source: North Shore News, “Grey divorce rates climbing,” Tom Carney, Oct. 21, 2012

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