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Divorce rate doubles for couples over 50

Many Missourians likely know of Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, who starred on the television show, Cheers. Missourians may be surprised to know that the couple, who had been married for more than 30 years, is calling it quits.

This divorce is an example of a trend known as "gray divorces." According to research, the divorce rate for people 50 and older has more than doubled in the last 20 years. In contrast, the overall divorce rate has actually decreased.

Why the difference? According to one expert, women in this age group feel comfortable separating if the marriage does not fulfill them. One reason why they may feel comfortable leaving the marriage is financially related. In many cases, who choose to divorce later in life have established financial self-sufficiency that makes it easier for them to exit a relationship that they do not want to stay in.

Though the reason may be speculative, the statistics, which indicate that women initiate roughly two out of three divorces among couples over the age of 50, suggest that women are the driving force behind the phenomenon.

What anyone considering a divorce should to know is that even as divorce trends have changed, so too, has the divorce process. In years past, courts may have had static views about the role of men and women following a divorce, but that has changed. Arrangements have become more flexible.

Because of these changes and the complex financial situations that many older married couples face, the divorce process in the case of older couples can be particularly complicated and time-consuming. However, the advice and assistance of an experienced family law attorney can help make the process easier for everyone involved.

Source: CBS News, "'Gray divorces' increase sharply," Oct. 13, 2012

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