When researchers divided divorcing couples into groups based on age, it turned out that one in four people is in the 50-and-over group. This is a marked increase: In the 1990s, only 10 percent of people getting divorced were members of this age group.
Times have changed and so have relationships. Older people have the advantage of their years in that many have already experienced divorce and remarriage. Depending on their circumstances, some find a second divorce liberating, while some find it devastating.
Reasons behind late-life divorces
Second marriages are at risk of failing for some logical reasons. For example, second marriages often involve the formation of a stepfamily, an adjustment that can be stressful and difficult to make. Even without stepfamily issues, older people may consider divorce when they reach some sort of turning point in their lives, such as retiring or becoming empty nesters.
Not only that, people are living longer. Those who consider divorce at 65 might be looking at 15 or 20 more years. Some view the longer lifespan that is common these days as enough time to start a whole new chapter in their lives.
In view of the hope of a long lifespan, the financial issues associated with divorce will lead some people to work longer than they had anticipated or reenter the workforce. Those who cannot find work or who cannot be employed for whatever reason may find themselves in straitened circumstances, forced to make do on their Social Security income.
Ending a marriage may be an easier effort for some boomers, but there are risks involved for everyone. The mere prospect of divorce often raises a genuine fear of the unknown. Sensible, compassionate advice from a legal professional is often helpful to people who feel rudderless, especially if they are breaking away from a long union. New experiences are in store and the goal is simply to live life freely and well.