Even though the U.S. divorce rate has pretty much leveled off and even decreased over the past two to three decades, the divorce rate for couples over 50 years of age has increased dramatically and now accounts for over 25% of all divorces. There are many factors that may help explain the rise in “grey divorce.” Some likely reasons include:
Growing apart – After a long marriage, couples feel they don’t have much in common anymore and have different interests and goals. People expect more of marriage today. Sticking it out in an unfulfilling marriage, just for the sake of being married, has become passe‘.
Improved health and longer life expectancy – People are living much longer than they did even 50 years ago, and they’re healthier and active. A divorce at 55 or 60 isn’t the end. It’s often the beginning of a new and interesting chapter of one’s life and seniors are ready and willing to take action to pursue a more fulfilling life.
According to data compiled by the Social Security Administration as of 2016:
Opportunities to Date – Divorced seniors are entering the dating scene at unprecedented numbers, looking for new opportunities to socialize and meet new people who share their interests. Online dating is surging in popularity for those over 50.
Women are financially independent – Women over the last 20-30 years have been in the workforce and led more independent lives. They’ve had or may still have a career, other than motherhood, and don’t have to rely on their husbands for money. Husbands are no longer the sole breadwinner in the family. Women have much more financial stability as they age. They have good salaries, retirement accounts, pensions, 401k accounts and are much more able financially to leave an unsatisfying marriage.
When younger couples divorce, the main issues are usually child custody and support, visitation, spousal support (alimony), and division of property. No matter why you’re seeking a divorce later in life, the fact is the longer a couple is married, the more complex the issues surrounding their divorce will be. The division of marital assets can be significantly more complex and complicated during divorce proceedings. The Commonwealth of Virginia is an equitable distribution state. That does not mean property is split 50/50. Equitable means fair, not even. It is important that you speak with an experienced Virginia family law attorney to ensure that your divorce gives you the new life you are planning for. Here are the issues and financial challenges a knowledgeable Virginia divorce attorney can work through with you:
As you can see, divorce issues for older couples are far more complex than issues a young or newly married couple face. If you are considering divorce as a senior citizen, it is important that you speak with an experienced Virginia family law attorney with expertise in senior divorces. Together, you and your attorney will carefully plan and prepare for all eventualities to ensure that you have the bright future you desire.
Melone Hatley is a general practice law firm and serves Virginia Beach and the Northern Virginia area. Our practice areas include Family Law, Divorce and Special Needs Children, Traffic Ticket Defense, DUI/DWI Defense, and Trust and Estate Law. Our philosophy is to provide all of our clients with the highest quality legal representation, innovative legal solutions, and unsurpassed dedication to customer service. Through our high standards, we strive to be a trusted resource to our clients.
We know from experience that a successful attorney-client relationship depends on our ability to understand your needs and objectives. For more information about a grey divorce and family law, contact our office today at 703.995.9900 in Northern Virginia or 757.296.0580 in Virginia Beach, or visit our website: www.MeloneLawPC.com.