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Key factors of a "gray divorce"

One might think that to make it past the belt-tightening, child-rearing years together, older couples are settled into stable marriages and less likely to divorce. However, the rise of the so-called "gray divorce" shreds that hypothesis.

There can be many reasons behind a later-in-live divorce between spouses. Below are some facts to keep in mind.

Attitudes toward divorce have shifted

It wasn't too terribly long ago that the attitudes of the people of Frisco were very different about divorce. It carried a stigma that many did not want associated with themselves or their children. So couples swallowed their private dissension, pasted on smiles and went out into the world as unhappy couples.

Now, people barely look askance at a divorced man or woman. Divorce is common enough that most families have at least one member who has been through the experience of a marriage ending.

Risk factors linked to marital past

It's true that for some couples, an empty nest is the catalyst of divorce, but your marital past plays a much bigger role. Couples who divorced prior to their present marriage face a larger risk of ending this marriage as well. This is especially true of short-term second or third marriages.

Money can shield you from gray divorce

At this point in a couple's shared life, they are likely to have accumulated major assets and sufficient wealth that neither wants to lose. For many, that can be enough to keep them from filing for divorce. Couples with assets can also tap them to build sort of parallel lives on their own without disrupting the unions they share with their spouses.

The rupture may have been building for decades

Marriages of long duration seldom end on a whim. Festering anger and resentment from years earlier can erode a marriage to a mere semblance of a loving union. By the time the split comes, there is precious little good will to salvage.

Also, people sometimes marry young to partners who may be great providers or nurturers of the children but with whom they have little else in common. Once the nest has emptied, these near strangers have little common ground to hold them together in their golden years.

Get legal advice before leaving your marriage

Whether you were married to your spouse for two years or for 20, don't initiate a divorce until you know where you legally stand in the matter. Your goal should be to leave the marriage with sufficient assets to begin a new life as a single individual.

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