Why Getting Divorced as a Senior is Becoming More Popular
You might have said, “’Til death do us part” at the altar, but if you’re in your 50s or beyond and contemplating divorce, you’re not alone. Read on to learn more about the increasing divorce rate among seniors, as well as the emotional and financial effects of divorce.
Why Is Divorce Among Seniors More Common?
Statistics Canada only keeps track of the divorce rate in Canada, not the reasons for why people end their marriages. However, researchers have studied this phenomenon and have identified a few explanations for why couples who have been married for years suddenly divorce.
Some couples find themselves growing apart over time. As the years pass they share fewer interests and activities, and more of their time is spent separately than together. It’s a case that Jack has discovered that Diane hasn’t grown as a person, or Mary realizes that she no longer has anything in common with Johnny.
While decades together can foster intimacy, they can also foster boredom. That’s especially true if your partner no longer seems to be the same fun-loving, spontaneous, exciting individual you once fell in love with. You might find yourself looking for that spark again and wondering what it would be like to be with someone else, someone who isn’t your spouse.
Couples tend to come to these realizations around major turning points in their lives, such as retirement or when the kids finally move out of the house. They now have time to focus just on each other without any distractions, and they might not like what they see. Our longer life expectancies mean we are less inclined to settle to mediocre marriages when we have twenty or more years left to live.
The Emotional Effects of Later-in-Life Divorce
Part of the reason that divorce among seniors—or as it’s popularly known, “grey” or “silver” divorce—is becoming so popular is because of the emotional benefits people long to experience.
People in unhappy marriages often complain of feeling trapped and stifled. They want to feel free—free to be happy, free to enjoy life again, free to pursue their interests and dreams. That desire to be free can be tempered by the often painful experience of the divorce process.
But after divorce, many people aged 65 and older do report feeling a greater sense of freedom, and along with it, happiness. However, they often chase those feelings at the expense of their finances.
The Financial Effects of Later-in-Life Divorce
No one should stay in an unhappy marriage, or worse, one that is abusive. Yet, before you rush to a divorce attorney, consider what will happen to your wallet if you split from your spouse as a senior.
For a start, you’re most likely heading into, or already in, retirement. If that’s the case, you’ll be living on a fixed income. Ask yourself whether you can afford an attorney’s legal fees in addition to living expenses. Be honest about the answer.
Second, assets that you own jointly will be distributed between you and your spouse. Unless you come to some kind of agreement, neither one of you is legally entitled to keep the house, and if one of you has a pension plan, you’ll have to share it with your soon-to-be ex.
Third, you should take a long, hard look at how financially savvy you are. Do you have the skills and knowledge to survive on your own, especially if you’re a woman who spent years out of the workforce raising a family? Can you figure out how to change your lifestyle—particularly if you’ve been accustomed to living more lavishly—to live on much less income?
Choose a Divorce Expert to Guide You through Divorce as a Senior
If you’re a senior who’s considering a divorce, it’s crucial to get expert advice. There are a host of issues to consider so that you understand your obligations as well as ensure your rights are protected. An experienced divorce attorney can guide you through the process.
Fine & Associates Professional Corporation is a well-respected Toronto Law Firm that prides itself on providing quality personal service and favourable outcomes in Family Law and Divorce Law.
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