Older couples divorcing at increasing rate

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Divorce on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

While perhaps not the demographic that most often comes to mind when one thinks about divorce, those over the age of 50 are nonetheless seeking to end marriages at an ever increasing rate throughout the nation, including the Chicago area. Currently, 1 in 4 divorces filed involves individuals in that age group. Over 20 years ago, that number was only 1 in 10.

While there are a variety of reasons people of all ages decide to divorce, one expert points to several that are often in play in the case of older people, including:

  • Disregarding religious “rules” regarding divorce
  • Women who have careers that result in well paying jobs
  • The sheer number of individuals who are over the age of 50

While the process of divorce is the same for couples of all ages, often, the issues that need to be addressed are different. For instance, most couples in their 50s do not have young children. This means that child support and custody matters are usually moot. Matters involving finances usually are the main focus of these splits.

Couples whose children have grown but still live in the often larger family home may find that it is no longer necessary. In situations where that house is worth less than what is owed, it may be necessary to find a creative way to deal with the matter. In some cases one of the participants in the marriage will need spousal support, either to help bridge the time necessary for that individual to get back into the working world, or, in some situations, permanently. Another matter that is usually on the minds of people that age who are divorcing is health insurance. When an individual is not eligible for Medicare, other insurance must be arranged, perhaps through COBRA.

For most, life changes dramatically upon divorcing. Because the decisions made and agreements reached during the course of a divorce proceeding will have an impact for years to come, whatever the age of individuals seeking to divorce, in most cases it is advisable to work with a family law lawyer.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Post-50 divorce rate doubled in 20 years,” Leslie Mann, Feb. 27, 2013

  • We handle family law matters including those related to divorce. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Cook County divorce page.