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U of M researcher says divorce among older Americans is way up

It may seem like once a marriage reaches a certain length, the couple is going to stay together until one spouse passes away. But new research from the University of Minnesota into divorce rates suggests that as Baby Boomers get into their 60s, they are divorcing at surprisingly high rates.

According to a study by the Minnesota Population Center the rate of divorce among people aged 60 to 65 has gone up three times since 1990. For senior citizens over 65, the divorce rate has gone up fivefold in that time.

The study concludes that the upswing in divorce is a generational matter. The author said that Baby Boomers, who led the increase of divorce in the 1970s, are now largely in their 60s, and they are still getting divorced. These days, it could be their second or third marriage that is ending. Marriages after the first one tend to be less stable, according to the author.

The study claims that younger people are less likely to get divorced. This may be due to the fact that people in younger generations are more likely to cohabitate without getting married. When those relationships end, they do not count as divorces. So, on the surface at least, the contrast may only be a question of whether a marriage certificate is involved.

Divorce for older couples can be quite different than for couples in their 20s, 30s or 40s. The kids are likely fully grown, or the couple may not have had children, so child custody and child support may not be issues. On the other hand, after long careers, the marital property could be more complex and valuable. In other words, it could be more difficult to negotiate a settlement.

Source: KSL-TV, “Divorce rates skyrocketing among older couples,” Mary Richards, April 1, 2014

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