Reasons for divorce among older couples

Statistics suggest that more and more older spouses in California are considering divorce. The divorce rate for adults 65 and older has tripled since 1990. For the 50 and older age group, it has doubled during the same time frame.

While some might assume that this dissatisfaction is tied to life events such as retirement and children leaving home, studies show that this is not the case. Like couples in other age groups, older adults tend to divorce when they are no longer fulfilled in their relationships. However, there are a few factors that make divorce more likely. Second marriages are more prone to separation than first marriages. Shorter marriages are also more vulnerable to divorce. In addition, children of divorcees are more prone to divorce themselves.

One danger in what is often called "gray divorce" is a lower standard of living. Divorced women are more vulnerable than divorced men. In fact, they have an 80 percent higher chance of living in poverty after turning 65. There can also be a social and familial cost that leaves seniors more isolated.

These are all reasons it's important to plan carefully for the divorce. After so many years together, couples may be willing and able to negotiate an agreement for dividing marital property that leaves both of them with financial stability. However, it is important that exes understand any regulations related to splitting property, selling assets and any taxes or penalties. For example, there could be a capital gains tax on some items that are sold. Some retirement account distributions may also be taxed.

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