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Ending long-term marriages may bring unique divorce legal issues

At a time when splitting up has grown less common among younger generations, the opposite is proving true for the age group commonly referred to as baby boomers. In fact, among individuals over the age of 50, the rate of divorce has essentially doubled since the 90s. For New York couples considering ending their marriage later in life, this trend may bring with it its own unique set of divorce legal issues.

Experts hypothesize that this climbing divorce rate may be linked partly to the aging of these baby boomers, who now range in age from 51 to 69 and comprise the majority of these so-called "gray divorces." The baby boomer generation is considered the first to widely take advantage of divorce as the practice lost much of its previous social stigma. They had unparalleled levels of divorce in their first marriage compared to any preceding generations. Many of them subsequently remarried, and as remarriages tend to be less stable, this may in part explain the high rates of divorce now.

This fact does not necessarily account for the whole picture, however, as at least a third of the divorcing couples had been married for 30 years or more, and long-term marriages generally have a lower rate of divorce. In this case, though, a significant portion of the gray divorces are occurring between couples who have been married for decades. Many of these individuals, research indicates, grew dissatisfied with their marriages over the years. Now, in their later years, they are eager for independence and looking for opportunities to follow their own interests.

The process of ending long-term marriages tends to differ from divorces among younger couples, though each will obviously share some common divorce legal issues. While younger divorcing New York couples may be concerned with child custody and support, older divorcées may be more focused on asset and property distribution, such as the division of significant retirement funds. Regardless of the length of the marriage or the age of the divorcing individuals, though, a divorce attorney's guidance will almost certainly guarantee a smoother process from beginning to end.

Source: pewresearch.org, "Divorce rates up for Americans 50 and older, led by Baby Boomers", Renee Stepler, March 9, 2017

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