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The growing rate of "gray divorce"

An increasing number of people in Pennsylvania who decide to divorce are in their older years. While people often think of younger couples as more likely to split, the divorce rate continues to grow for people ages 50 and over across the United States. Divorce has become more common in general in recent decades, and family familiarity with divorce may encourage comfort with it in future generations. For example, the daughters of divorced parents are 60 percent more likely to separate themselves, and the sons of parents who split are 35 percent more likely to get divorced.

There are a number of factors contributing to the growing divorce rate among older Americans beyond the increase in social acceptability of ending a marriage. Since 1990, the divorce rate for people aged 50 and older has doubled while the divorce rate for people 65 and older has tripled during that time. The phenomenon has been termed "gray divorce," and there are specific circumstances that may concern people in this demographic.

In many cases, people who have already ended a marriage are more likely to end a remarriage. Couples who are married for a second or third time are more than twice as likely to divorce than older couples who are still in their first marriage. In addition, people who have been married for a shorter time are more likely to divorce later in life than people who have been together for decades.

Among the consequences of divorcing as an older American is the impact on each person's retirement savings. Retirement funds are often one of the largest assets at stake in a divorce, and they can be particularly important to people in a gray divorce. A family law attorney may work with a divorcing spouse to protect key assets and achieve a settlement on issues like property division and spousal support.

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