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Factors that contribute to the likelihood of divorce

Some Colorado couples who are older than 50 might be facing divorce after 30 or even 40 years of marriage. However, while they are more likely to get divorced compared to previous generations, this age group is still the least likely to end their marriages.

There is a misconception that divorce among older couples might be due to retirement, children leaving home, or health problems, but a study by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research found that none of these were significant factors. However, the divorce rate was higher for second marriages than first marriages. This appeared to be the case even with long second marriages. People in second marriages that had lasted 40 years or longer were almost three times more likely to divorce than people in first marriages of the same length. Owning property or having assets of more than $250,000 were also factors that decreased the likelihood of divorce among people over 50.

Poverty can be a concern for older couples who divorce. Among couples over 50 who live together, both married and unmarried, the poverty rate is no more than 4 percent. For women who divorce after 50, the poverty rate is 27 percent, and for men, it is 11 percent.

For some older couples who divorce, if one person has been out of the workforce for many years, it could be difficult to get a job again, and this might contribute to poverty. It may be important for a nonworking or low-earning spouse to get alimony and a share of the retirement account to avoid poverty. On the other hand, some older couples may have accumulated many assets, including homes, investment accounts, and valuable collections, that make the process of divorce complex.

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Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C.
42 Garden Center
Broomfield, CO 80020