Empty nests likely major contributor to gray divorce

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It’s the end of summer and for many parents in Orlando, Florida, that means helping their children move off to college to begin a life outside of the nest. Many older couples have found themselves struggling with an empty nest, a situation that can lead to divorce if it goes unaddressed. There are ways to work to save such marriages from dissolving but even so, one in four divorces involves a person who is 50 or older. This is an age that many parents are either already at or are approaching when their children go off to college. When divorces occurs, this is known as gray divorce.

In order to combat an increasing rate of gray divorce – a jump from one in ten divorced individuals in 1990 to the aforementioned one-in-four figure from 2009 – experts have many suggestions about marriage as the children come of age. Some suggest becoming curious about your partner again. It is likely that at this point in the relationship, you have spent well over a decade together and may have convinced yourself that you know everything about your spouse. This is likely not the case as each day brings with it new things. This is why becoming curious and establishing a daily routine of asking each other about your days is important. Basically, it boils down to being mindful of the relationship and not taking it for granted.

Instilling such habits before the children fly away from the nest can help prevent a high asset divorce from occurring. Even though you may not think you have much wealth, a number of assets are often intermingled between spouses who have been together for more than a decade. With children out of the home in most gray divorces, custody is generally not an issue. Instead, the focus will be on property and any accounts that contain wealth, especially those pertaining to retirement.

Source: MPR News, “How parents can adjust to an empty nest, avoid ‘gray divorce’” No author given, Aug. 27, 2013

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