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Considerations for older couples who divorce

Based on national trends, more and more Colorado seniors are deciding to divorce. Since 1990, the divorce rate has tripled among spouses in the 65-and-older age group.

Researchers have speculated that this could be tied to couples struggling with the transition to the empty nest or retirement. However, studies found no correlation. Instead, older couples tend to divorce when they are no longer happy in each other's company. There are also several factors that may increase the likelihood that a couple will divorce. A woman whose parents divorced is 60 percent more likely to also get a divorce. For a man, there is a 35 percent greater likelihood. Furthermore, people in second marriages have a higher divorce rate.

Divorce at this age does present social challenges for an age group that may already need to take steps to avoid becoming isolated. There are financial challenges as well. Ex-wives in particular may be worse off financially after a divorce. Studies show that women divorcees age 65 or older have an 80 percent higher chance of living in poverty compared to men.

While issues around child custody and support may be the main family law concern for younger couples who divorce, older exes will probably worry about retirement and being reasonably financially secure. A soon-to-be ex may want to talk to an attorney about what they may be able to expect in the property settlement. They should also make sure that when they look at the value of assets, they take into account potential taxes or penalties associated with ownership, distribution or sale.

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