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Changes in age at divorce over generations

Couples in Colorado who are getting a divorce look different demographically compared to earlier generations. In 2013, the number of 59-year-olds who were divorced, separated or in second or later marriages was about twice as many as in 1980. In 1960, the number was fewer than 20 percent compared to 42 percent in 2013.

The figures, based on the 1960 and 1980 census and on data from the Minnesota Population Center's Integrated Public Microdata Sample Project, show the age at divorce rising over the decades. It was more common for people in their 20s to be divorced in 1960 and 1980 compared to 2013.

While 59 was the age at which the percentage of people divorced, separated or in later marriages peaked in 2013, it was in the late 40s and early 50s in 1960. In 1980, the percentage peaked around age 40.

Along with demographics, divorce laws have changed over the years, and people who are facing the end of their marriages may want to begin by speaking with a lawyer to get a sense of what they might expect. People who have not had much involvement with the family finances will need to quickly get a picture of the joint assets, income and debt. They may need copies of bank statements, tax returns and any investment information. Property division may involve making decisions such as whether the home will be sold and the proceeds split or one person will keep it. If there are children, parents may be able to negotiate a child custody agreement they are happy with, or they may have to go to court.

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Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C.
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Broomfield, CO 80020