Divorce Over 50: Is it for You?

- Gary E. Williams

Born between 1946 and 1964, the Baby Boomers continue to redefine American culture. Currently, couples over 50 are initiating divorce in record numbers for reasons all their own.

In 2012, a study from Bowling Green University discussed factors behind the rise in couples divorcing in middle and older age. Findings included:

  • Between 1990 and 2009, the divorce rate of couples over 50 doubled
  • Remarriage is risky – couples in a second marriage are 2.5 times more likely to be divorced
  • Advanced education generally led to a lower divorce rate and greater marital satisfaction

A recent study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found similar results. Of the divorce lawyers polled, sixty-one percent had seen a rise in divorce cases with couples over 50. Reasoning behind a middle or late life divorce can include:

  • With increased health and longevity, more people are less likely to stick out an emotionally unfulfilling marriage
  • Many couples enjoy financial independence and do not feel the need to stay together for purely economic reasons
  • Higher populations of divorced older adults increases the chances of meeting a new partner with similar interests late in life

If considering divorce after a lengthy marriage, preparation is important. Consider the following tips before making your move:

  • Open financial accounts in your own name
  • Review your credit report and clear up any issues
  • Give real thought to your budget and where you would like to live
  • Take a hard look at assets and debt
  • Understand pension and retirement funds will be shared
  • If you are considering remarriage, think about a prenuptial agreement to protect your assets and any inheritance for your own children.

With divorce over 50, or at any time of life, make sure you obtain skilled legal advice.