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Gray divorce: Is it part of your retirement plans?

People live longer nowadays. As a resident of Florida over age 50, you may take advantage of the plentiful sunshine and fresh air the area has to offer to make the most of your golden years on this southern peninsula. Your kids are likely out on their own or at least close to being so, and you have more time to indulge in your hobbies, exercise and basically spend your free time as you prefer, unlike all the years you placed your spouse and children's needs ahead of your own.

You may relate to many over-50 spouses who file for divorce as part of their retirement plans. Known as gray divorce, many people who were in a marriage for 15 or more years determine their relationships no longer viable once their kids reach adult age. Studies show several causal factors that may make you more likely to decide to return to the single life in your elder years. Divorce at this age can be quite complicated. It's critical that you understand state laws and your rights, especially concerning marital assets. 

Issues that often lead to gray divorce 

You are definitely not alone in your struggle if, instead of walking into the sunset alongside your best friend and companion with whom you have shared the majority of your life up to this point, you decide to call it quits and move on in life without your spouse. The following list includes common issues that many over-50 spouses cite as factors in gray divorce: 

  • You may feel that your personal needs have gone unmet for too long or that you are fully capable of meeting them on your own. 
  • Some people say they simply decided it was no longer worth it to keep overlooking negative comments, criticism or other unsupportive marital behavior. 
  • Fidelity is apparently a major point of concern in many gray divorces, where one spouse chooses to end a marriage after discovering the other has had an extramarital affair.
  • Substance abuse and gambling problems are other main factors of many divorces, especially those occurring between spouses age 50 and beyond. 

Divorce is never easy and may be even more devastating emotionally if you're coming away from a long-term marriage of 15 or more years. Such situations may have potentially adverse financial or business implications as well. It's always a good idea to talk to others who have gone through similar experiences to get a feel for what may lie ahead.  

If legal problems arise 

Just as there are support groups to help you come to terms emotionally with a late-life divorce, there are also support resources available to help you protect your interests and rectify any problem situations that arise concerning property division, spousal support or other legal matters. 

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