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Reasons for divorcing after 50

One group of individuals in Alberta with a high divorce rate is baby boomers who are approaching their retirement years. Whether a spouse decides they want a younger partner or whether the couple ends a marriage after years of dissatisfaction, the break-up can be painful.

People going through the so-called silver or grey divorces might not have to deal with custody issues, but partners will need to consider how they divide their assets. National statistics show that the number of those in their fifties and older who are divorcing is rising. Couples in the public eye aren't immune, and the marriages of Tipper and Al Gore and Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman are just two examples of the long-term unions in the grey group that have ended.

One reason why these marriages are breaking up is women have more financial independence, so they can make choices that might not have been available to them even three or four decades ago. They have the money to leave a relationship if they are unhappy, and no longer feel the stigma associated with being a divorced woman. They won't settle for just living under the same roof, and their children are all grown and out of the house.

While starting over at any time in life can be a challenge, beginning a new life when over 50 presents a unique set of problems. Although this age group no longer needs to raise children, it can be hard to find a new career or a new partner. A family lawyer might be able to help clients negotiate acceptable terms when their grey marriage ends.

Source: Maclean's, "Living apart, together", Manisha Krishnan, September 17, 2013

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