It may have once been uncommon for the marriages of older couples to break down, but that’s no longer the case. It seems clear that an increasing number of grandparents in North Dakota and nationwide are getting a divorce.
One factor may simply be that many people are living longer and are less likely to stay together if they are unhappy with their marriage, as the prospect of that unhappiness potentially stretching out for a number of decades is undesirable. Additionally, with divorce becoming more common, any stigma that was once attached to it is declining rapidly.
The Internet today, with dating sites and social media such as Facebook, also makes it much easier for a divorced person to find new relationships – even if they’re older. Some aging couples may find that they have less in common when empty nest syndrome hits and all of the kids are out of the home and involved in lives of their own. Many marriages, when the couple was young or middle aged, may have revolved around raising the children.
There may be unique issues that seniors getting divorced must confront, as well as more in the way of material assets to divide. When looking at the financial picture, it is important to take into account such things as Social Security benefits, including spousal benefits, 401(k) plans, pensions or military retirement benefits. Some of these have unique laws and rules that apply when it comes to spousal benefits or shares. An experienced divorce attorney can guide seniors through these and many other issues in a manner that can maximize benefits and avoid unwanted tax consequences.
Huffington Post, “Help, My Grandparents Are Getting a Divorce!” Jim Halfens, Nov. 26, 2013