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Reasons for divorce among older couples

While couples in Kentucky and throughout the country who are 50 and older might be more likely to divorce than they were in earlier generations, a closer look at statistics shows that not all marriages of older couples are equally vulnerable. Furthermore, couples younger than 50 still have a divorce rate twice that of their older counterparts.

There are two common denominators among couples who are more likely to divorce. Couples who are less financially stable and who are on a second or later marriage are less likely to stay married. Couples who own property together are less likely to get a divorce, and first marriages are less likely to end in the divorce than later marriages. Divorce among older couples does not appear to be particularly correlated to children leaving home, retirement or other elements that some have speculated about to explain the phenomenon of what is called "gray divorce".

Divorce at any age may leave people less financially secure. Older divorced people tend to have only about 20 percent of the assets that married people their age have. While older people living together in relationships have a poverty rate of 4 percent or less, 27 percent of women and 11 percent of men who divorced after age 50 were living in poverty.

For these reasons, people may be particularly concerned about getting a fair share of the marital assets. This may not always be as straightforward as it appears. For example, one person might agree to take the house while the other takes the retirement account. The house might be costly in terms of upkeep, but a person might be able to sell it while the other person might be unable to access a retirement account until reaching a certain age.

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