The overall divorce rate in the United States has remained stable for some time. However, the rate of divorce for older Americans is rising and that can create problems.
Researchers at Bowling Green State University recently published a study that looked into the effects of what are known as "gray divorces." These are divorces that occur when the spouses are over the age of 50.
What the researchers found is alarming, if not necessarily surprising.
Since 1990, the divorce rate in the United States has not changed significantly. On the other hand, the gray divorce rate has doubled.
One of the main problems when an older person divorces is the increased likelihood they will spend their elderly years in poverty.
The Elder Law Prof Blog reported on this study in "The Rising Impact of Unpartnered Older Adults and 'Gray Divorce'."
As anyone who has ever been through a divorce knows, divorce has a high financial cost. After a divorce both of the ex-spouses normally take awhile to recover from those costs completely.
For many people who get divorced after the age of 50 there simply is not enough time to recover before they reach the age of retirement.
In some cases this eventually leads to poverty.
The more elderly people living in poverty the more pressure there is on the elder law system and the programs designed to assist the elderly. That will impact society in general.
Rising elderly poverty rates also create problems for younger generations.
This is because they will need to shoulder more of the financial burden of helping elderly family members without an eventual inheritance to recoup that outlay.
If you are contemplating a "gray divorce," you may want to look twice before you leap.
Reference: Elder Law Prof Blog (Jan. 15, 2016) "The Rising Impact of Unpartnered Older Adults and 'Gray Divorce'."