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The rise in divorce among older adults

Georgia couples who are 50 years old and above may be at a higher risk of divorce than their parents or grandparents were at the same age. People age 65 and older are getting divorced at a rate that is three times higher than it was in 1990. For individuals 50 and older, the rate is twice as high as it was in that year.

This higher rate of divorce is not linked to retirement or empty nest syndrome. Like their younger counterparts, older couples seek a divorce when they do not enjoy being together any longer. However, there are a few risk factors. For example, men whose parents are divorced are 35 percent more likely to get a divorce while for women, the rate is 60 percent. Second marriages and shorter marriages are also more likely to end in divorce.

Divorce can bring financial challenges for this age group. A report to the Senate Special Committee on Aging found that a single person who is at least 65 years old needs almost 80 percent the income that a couple does. Divorced women may be particularly hard hit with an 80 percent higher likelihood than men of falling into poverty at the age of 65 or older. Older people who get a divorce also may struggle more with loneliness. They might lose touch with friends and become more socially isolated. Divorce is hard for other family members as well, including adult children.

Unfortunately, divorce may be the only solution for some unhappy marriages. When this happens, it is particularly important that older adults do not let their emotions interfere when going through the process of property division. Sometimes people may try to rush through this process because they want the divorce to be finalized as quickly as possible, but doing so can mean not getting a fair share of the marital assets and struggling with a lack of financial security after the divorce.

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