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Are later-in-life divorce rates climbing?

Michigan is home to many Baby Boomers. You’re a part of this generation if you were born between 1946 and 1964. Boomers are known as the generation who ushered in social change and civil rights protests. They also have something else in common. Their life expectancy is longer than previous generations. Some analysts believe that this might be a primary factor in their rising divorce rate.

Perhaps you can relate to those who “stuck it out” through decades of an unhappy marriage. Many people did so because they had young children in the home or because there was a stigma attached to divorce. Others had sacrificed careers or post-secondary education to stay home full-time and raise their families, so they were not in a financial position to part ways with their spouse. Now, their kids are adults, and society no longer frowns upon people who file for divorce.

Divorce rates vary between generations

Data shows that the divorce rate has dropped over the past 10 to 20 years among spouses who are younger than 45. On the other hand, the rate has more than doubled for Baby Boomers. In fact, if you’re 65 or older, the divorce rate has tripled from 1990 to 2021.

Divorce rates among women in those age groups nearly quadrupled. Many women have become business owners and found other ways to be financially independent from their spouses. They no longer feel a need to remain in an unhappy relationship out of financial necessity.

Younger generations don’t marry as often as their elders did

The lower divorce rate among people who are younger than 45 might not have as much to do with intact marriages as it does with people in this age group not getting married at all. The under-45 crowd doesn’t head to the altar as often as their elders did when they were young. It’s logical to assume, then, that lower marriage rates equal lower divorce rates, as well.

Navigating life after a gray divorce

The term “gray divorce” refers to spouses who file for divorce late in life. If you’re considering doing so, you’ll want to make sure you understand Michigan property division laws, especially if you and your spouse have a complex list of assets that includes things like 401(k) or other retirement accounts, military pensions, stocks or investments and more.

You’ll want to conduct a thorough review of your finances to ensure that you receive the maximum you’re entitled to as you start afresh and adapt to a new lifestyle. Other issues may be relevant to a gray divorce, as well, such as estate planning or spousal support. Acting alongside experienced guidance and support is the best way to ensure a fair settlement.