Reflections & Insight

Divorce after age 50

According to an article in the New York Times, more Americans 50 and older are divorced than widowed. A half a century ago, 2.8% of Americans age 50 and older were divorced. By 2000, 11.8% were. In 2011, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 15.4% were divorced, another 2.1% separated, and 13.5% widowed.

Based on those statistics, the divorce rate among people 50 and older has doubled since 1990. That’s a significant increase since half the married U.S. population is older than 50.

Why are Couples 50 & Older Divorcing?

Family history professor Stephanie Coontz attributes the trend to the fact that many boomers are on their second and third marriages, making them more prone to divorce.Coontz also suggests that people who live an active and healthy lifestyle are more likely to divorce their spouse. Coontz commented in the New York Times article, “If you are healthy at age 65, you can expect another healthy 20 years. With the kids gone, it seems more burdensome to stay in a bad relationship, or one that has gone stale.”

What are the Implications of Divorcing Older in Life?

Divorce among older Americans can have serious implications including:

Placing a larger burden on children and family members’ financials, including investments, social security, survivor and tax benefits, and
the emotional impact at an older age and inability to move forward in life.

Contact Dr. Sammi Siegel to find out about how to get the support that you need at this time in your life.

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