Divorce is on the Rise

The best-selling book “Fifty Shades of Gray” will heat up theaters across the country next Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile another form of “gray” is hitting home — gray divorce is on the rise.

A recent survey, conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, revealed that more seniors than ever are getting divorced, especially couples older than 50.

Younger couples are shocked to learn more seniors are getting divorced, and wonder why. One reason is people are living longer.

When the retirement age was fixed at 65 by the Social Security Administration in 1916, the average life expectancy was only 57.

Today, people to sail through their 60s and 70s, and even their 80s. A few years ago, I represented a man who was 91, as was his wife. They married later in life, but it was still a 30-year marriage!

People realize they no longer wish to live in an unhappy relationship, that they want to live out their silver years without the tarnish of an unhealthy marriage.

Other couples have found that once retired, they lack common interests to keep them together. With the children grown and gone, the marriage is no longer “necessary.”

With some, the marriage might have been a second or third and the couple learns that their families are not blending. And because the harsh stigma divorce once carried has lessened, it is easier for those in an unsatisfying marriage to move on.

Money. Money. Money. Without kids to fight over, money becomes the focus. Alimony is the No. 1 hot button (think permanent alimony), followed by business valuation issues, income evaluation issues, and splitting of pension plans and retirement assets.

If the marriage has been long-term and the parties had little to no assets at the time of the marriage, splitting assets is a simpler task because they are usually all considered to be marital.

The bottom line is seniors, much like everyone else, want peace and enjoyment in their lives. They know that the time is now or never. Making a decision today to create a new beginning ensures that the twilight years will indeed be golden.

Rebecca Zung, a family law attorney, is a founding partner of the Law Office of Zung Clough, PLLC in Naples. As a renowned divorce authority, she helps clients transform and rebuild their lives. Her book, “Breaking Free: A Step-by-Step Divorce Guide to Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Freedom,” is available on amazon.com. Contact Zung at ZungFamilyLaw.com or rzung@zungfamilylaw.com.

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