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Divorce: A thing that often happens once people hit 50

Did you get married in the early 1980s? If so, you perhaps own your home (or at least pay a mortgage loan on one), have one more children and have gone through several career changes by now. Like most things in life, your marriage has probably seen its ups and downs; in fact, if you're one of many in New Jersey who are considering filing or have recently filed for divorce, the downs may have over taken the ups. If so, you are definitely not alone.

Not only are you not the only one to be thinking about divorce as you enter your 50s, 60s or beyond, it has become so common in the past couple decades that marriage and divorce analysts have coined a new term known as "gray divorce" to describe it. No two marriages or divorces are exactly the same. You have your reasons just as others have theirs. Even so, if you were to discuss it with those who have trod the path before you, you might find similarities in your situations.

Gray divorce facts and seeking support

Do you know that in 2015, 10 out of every 1,000 married couples age 50 or over filed for divorce? In the past 25 years, the gray divorce rate has doubled. This may surprise you since the overall average divorce rate among younger people has decreased. The following list includes issues that sometimes lead to gray divorce, one or more of which may apply to your situation:

  • Marriage duration: By the time you turned 50 or 60, you may be married 30 or more years. Some people your age who divorce say they simply had nothing in common anymore after spending so many years together. People change and sometimes grow apart. Some are able to compensate and fill in the gaps; others are not.
  • Desire to pursue individual interests: After setting aside their own interests for decades for the sake of children, career or a spouse, some people ultimately decide to go their own way and seek independence late in life.
  • Marital instability: Unresolved issues that linger over time or an acute act against a marriage, such as infidelity, may prompt someone age 50 or beyond to file for divorce.

On one hand, you may be yearning for a new start, independence and freedom to save or spend your money as you like; on the other hand, however, divorcing late in life may have some adverse financial repercussions. This is one of many reasons you'll want to thoroughly research New Jersey divorce laws, potential tax ramifications and other important issues before heading to court.

Divorce doesn't necessarily mean you've lost all hope for happiness in life. It's possible to come to terms with the situation, rise above and move forward to a new, successful lifestyle. A key factor often lies in the type of support you seek.

Who can help?

Many New Jersey residents who file for gray divorce join local support groups to gain encouragement and inspiration from others who can relate to their experiences. Some confide in licensed counselors or ministers. Still, others choose to rely on experienced family law attorneys to help them protect their rights and assets.

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