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Understanding gray divorce

Gray divorces, or divorces on or after the age of 50, are on the rise in Texas and across the United States. Currently, around 25 percent of all divorces fall into this category.

According to experts, part of the reason gray divorces are increasing is that there are now more Americans at or over the age of 50 than ever before. In 1990, there were only 63.5 million adults in that age bracket. However, by 2010, there were 99 million. The number is expected to balloon to 158.5 million by 2050. Meanwhile, life expectancy has improved over the past few decades, with men gaining an extra 11 years and women gaining an extra 10. These statistics mean that there is now a large population of older adults who have an extra decade to contemplate divorce.

To find out the specific reasons older couples tend to split up, a researcher interviewed 40 men and 40 women about why they filed for divorce. Many people assume that individuals who were raised in the 1960s might have selfish reasons for ending their marriages, such as lack of fulfillment or boredom. However, the researcher found that most people had serious reasons for their decision. For example, both men and women commonly cited infidelity and mental health issues as the reason they decided to divorce. Other reasons included financial disagreements, verbal and emotional abuse, addiction and differences in child-rearing philosophies.

Individuals contemplating ending their marriage may want to discuss their situation with a family law attorney who could assess a client's circumstances and explain all legal options available. Legal counsel could also help negotiate agreements on property division, spousal support and other applicable legal issues.

Source: The Week, "Why are so many baby boomers getting divorced?", Jocelyn Elise Crowley, May 21, 2018

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