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Dealing with a late-in-life divorce

Many Kentuckians assume that once a couple has been married for 20 years or more, it is unlikely that they will divorce. While it is true that chance of divorce can decline over time, more and more couples are deciding to separate in their senior years.

There are many reasons behind this rise in "gray divorces." One factor is that people are, on average, living longer. The prospect of living into one's 80s or even 90s can cause someone to ponder whether they would truly be happy spending the next several decades with a spouse. In many cases, long-standing areas of irritation and resentment can begin to build, triggering the desire to move on.

Another consideration is that older adults are typically done raising their children. Many people living in mediocre or bad marriages decide to stay with their spouses for the benefit of the children. Once the children are gone, there is no longer any motive to stay. This is often particularly true in marriages in which both parents were very involved with their children's upbringing, to the detriment of nurturing their own relationship.

Because a late-in-life divorce carries some special considerations, particularly in the area of asset division and ongoing spousal support, those considering ending their marriages may benefit from consulting with an experienced family law attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client's case and make recommendations regarding the division of retirement accounts, pensions and real estate. An attorney could also assist in writing a will that reflects the client's new circumstances.

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