By Craig Erwin, Ph.D.
I MUST ADD HEADINGS AND LINKS TO MY OTHER POSTS
Divorce rates have been declining in the USA for the past couple decades, but not for everyone. Divorce rates have risen for those age 50 and above, roughly doubling since the 1990s, according to a Pew Research report.
Why are marriages for those 50 and older now more at risk, while most marriages have become more durable? Here are some of the reasons: financial issues, growing apart, infidelity, longer life expectancies and better health, emotional abuse, changing goals, boredom, and addictions,
For many, they fell in love and married decades ago, but since then their children have grown up and moved out, one or both partners now realize that they either never had many common interests or they no longer do. So, they want a fresh start with someone with whom they have much more in common.
But splitting after decades together should not be rushed into. Although we may all fantasize about how exciting it would be to start over with someone new, starting over is hard and costly and may drastically change your retirement plans or even your ability to retire.
Before you rush to end your marriage, consider carefully the following:
- After divorcing, would you meet the criteria to collect Social Security benefits based on your ex’s work record? You might, but check to be sure.
- How comfortably could you live in retirement if you and your spouse split your assets?
- It would be unwise to assume that, after divorcing, you would marry a particular individual and be able to count on him or her for financial (and other) support. Even if you ended up dating after your divorce, there is no guarantee that the two of you would marry. Just because you are interested in dating someone, or have agreed to date someone, does not mean that you will end up married. If you divorce, you would be wise to assume that you will retire alone and that you will need to rely on the assets you and your ex split.
Divorce is often a traumatic, frightening process. Unless your life is in danger, consider carefully whether divorce is the best option or if there is a better way.