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About gray divorces

Maryland residents may be surprised to learn that the factors that indicate an older couple may be at risk for a divorce may not be what they automatically assume. The risk of divorces among individuals who are 50 years old or older are not spread evenly among them. Thirty-four percent of gray divorces occur among couples who have been married more than 30 years, while those who have been married over 40 years account for 10 percent of gray divorces.

Even though the gray divorce rate has doubled over the past three decades and has increased at a higher rate than that for Americans who are younger than 50, it is still not considered very high. In fact, the divorce rate for people 50 and older is half the rate for people under 50.

According to a 2016 research paper from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, commonly assumed factors of children leaving the home, chronic illnesses, retirement of a spouse or education levels are not the primary reasons gray divorces occur. Factors related to economic resources, such as whether a couple co-owned property or if they had assets that were more than $250, 000, often played a part.

The researchers discovered the factors by examining the marital histories of over 5,000 couples in which one spouse was born before 1960. They determined that financial security was a factor that curtailed divorces that occurred later in life. Another study by the NCFMR, one that was conducted in 2012, also indicated how significant financial resources were in determining whether a gray divorce would occur.

Divorce attorneys may assist individuals with resolving their divorce legal issues, either through litigation or negotiation. An attorney may work to ensure a client obtains favorable terms on property division and other applicable matters.

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