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Why are older people finding a silver lining in silver divorce?

It goes without saying that one of the advantages of getting older is that you are finally able to start enjoying some much-needed stability in life. Indeed, older married couples can derive satisfaction from finally owning their home after decades of payments, watching their retirement assets grow, paying off the last of their outstanding debts and, of course, seeing their children thrive on their own.

Interestingly enough, recently released research by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University has found that many older married spouses are now making the decision to forgo this stability and satisfaction for the freedom -- and relative uncertainty -- offered by single life. 

What exactly did this research uncover?

The National Center for Family and Marriage Research found that spouses age 50 and older were two times as likely to pursue a so-called silver divorce in 2014 as they were back in 1990, while the divorce rates for their younger counterparts remained largely unchanged or even dropped in some cases.

Furthermore, the researchers determined that the divorce rate increased even more for those spouses over the age of 65.

Why are silver divorces becoming more common?

Experts indicate that there are multiple reasons as to why silver divorce is becoming more common. For example, they point to the fact that many older couples are in second or subsequent marriages, which have always had historically higher divorce rates because of the challenges posed by blended families and the comingling of assets.

Other reasons identified by experts for the uptick in silver divorces include the disappearance of the social stigma surrounding divorce, longer life expectancies, more empty nests and, perhaps most significantly, the empowerment of women.   

Are there any unique legal considerations when it comes to silver divorces?

Absolutely. While there are no longer concerns about child support and child custody, older couples will most certainly have to address property division and perhaps even alimony.

What makes this significant from a legal perspective is that many of these older couples have accumulated significant assets owing to their having been married for so many years. Furthermore, it's possible that one spouse made certain sacrifices over the years such that their earning capacity has been substantially diminished.

Have you or anyone you know gone through a silver divorce? If so, what was your experience like? 

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