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Are older Americans facing a higher divorce risk?

Nevada couples over the age of 50 might be concerned about the possibility of a higher risk of divorce due to their age. The phenomenon, also known as gray divorce, has received a great deal of media attention.

The divorce rate for those over 50 has increased steadily, going from 5 divorces per 1,000 married people in 1990 to 10 divorces per 1,000 married people in 2010, and in comparison with the growth of the divorce rate for those under 50, it has seen a sharp increase. However, the rate is still significantly lower than the overall divorce rate for people under 50. Additionally, not all married people over 50 need to worry about an increased risk, since there are a lot of variables.

Surprisingly, the variables that did play a role in the risk of divorce for those over 50 were different than those for people under 50. For older married couples, one variable was whether the marriage was a first time marriage or not. Even for couples who had been married for over 40 years, the risk of divorce was lower for those who were in a first marriage. Wealth and joint property were also important, as couples who had accumulated wealth greater than $250,000 or who had bought property together also face lower risks of divorce. Finally, another variable was in the quality of the marriage and the importance placed by both people on spending time together and being happy.

While many of the legal issues involved when a couple who have been together for a long time are the same as those for younger couples, others, such as child custody, usually don't play a part. What can be important, however, is the division of retirement accounts and other property, and couples might want to ask their respective attorneys to be of assistance in negotiating a settlement.