Study: Divorce rate rising among older couples

A recent study shows that more people over 50 are getting divorced and this can create unique challenges.

Through the years, many Sugar Land couples may grow apart or decide that they want separate lives and want to divorce. In fact, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a recent study conducted by Bowling Green University shows that the divorce rate is rising among people who are over the age of 50. Over a 20-year period, the number of older people who decided to call it quits on their marriage doubled.

In 2010, more than 600,000 people in this age group filed for divorce, which equaled to one out of every four divorces that occurred in the U.S. While the study does not reveal the factors that contributed to the increase rate, it does bring attention to how divorce might affect older people.

Economic hardship

In many situations, a divorce later in life can create economic challenges for one or both spouses. If there is a prenuptial plan that prohibits a spouse from receiving property or assets, the spouse may have to seek financial support, but even that may not be enough. Some spouses may not have a college degree or any type of work skills. If the couple has been in a long-term marriage, one of the spouses may have been completely dependent on the other spouse's income.

This can make it difficult for the dependent spouse to find a place to live or cover his or her living expenses. Credit may also be an issue if the spouse has no real income to report.

Health concerns

When a couple is married, there is always a sense of security in knowing that the other spouse is there if health problems arise. However, for older couples who divorce, a serious health problem can raise concern. Without a spouse, a person will probably need to hire someone to provide care, or they may have to rely on their adult children. This can leave children feeling overwhelmed as they find themselves caregivers and trying to deal with their parents' divorce.

Retirement issues

USA Today points out that one of the biggest issues older people going through a divorce may have to face is how they will still be able to retire. Couples often have one retirement plan, which can become problematic when the retirement must now support two lifestyles instead of one. This can leave a person with no choice but to work past their planned retirement age or it may lead to severe adjustments in budgets and financial planning.

Instead of remaining in the family home where children and grandchildren can visit, people a person may have to downsize to a smaller home or condo. They may also need to cut out extra luxuries like eating out, traveling and buying expensive items. It is believed that after divorce, the retirement costs for each spouse will increase by 30 percent.

When a person in Texas is planning a separation, they may find it beneficial to meet with a family law attorney. An attorney can help them analyze their current and future needs, and assist them in finding a solution that meets their goals.