Divorces Skyrocket Among 50-Plus Segment

October 3, 2016

Americans 50 and older are getting divorced at a higher rate than younger people, and much more frequently than in prior decades, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

As life spans lengthen, those in the Golden Years may realize “till-death-do-us-part” could mean much longer than they ever thought.

More older adults are deciding they “don’t want to spend their senior years unhappily wed, especially since they’re likely to live healthily into their 70s and 80s,” Bloomberg reports.

Americans 50 and older comprised a quarter of all Americans who got divorced in 2014, up from about 8 percent in 1990. Meanwhile, divorces for younger couples has declined or plateaued in that time period. For Americans 50 and older, it has more than doubled.

Divorcing later on in life can have a significant impact to couples’ standard of living.

“The vast majority of older couples who divorce, even if they’ve both worked or are still employed see their standard of living decline substantially,” Josh Davis, an attorney and president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, told Bloomberg. “It’s a lot more expensive to live in separate households than in one home, and the retirement savings you’ve accumulated must be divided, leaving each spouse with less.”

According to AARP, women initiate 60 percent of the divorces after age 40, “even though they usually suffer more financially because they earn less than their husbands and are much more likely to have taken time off from paid employment to care for children and elderly parents,” Bloomberg reports.

Source: “Older Americans Are Jeopardizing Their Retirement With Divorce,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek (Sept. 29, 2016)