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Pitfalls for older adults to avoid when divorcing

Divorce for couples in Florida and throughout the country who are 50 and older is a growing reality. The divorce rate in this age group is twice as high as it was in 1990, and it is three times as high for people who are older than 64. While experts have theorized that retiring from fulfilling work or the empty nest syndrome could be to blame, studies show that simply being dissatisfied with the marriage is the main reason for these late-life divorces.

Several other factors also predict the risk of divorce ranging from whether the marriage is of short duration to whether it is a second marriage. Both of those elements increase the divorce risk as does having divorced parents. The risk for women in the latter situation is 60 percent higher and for men 35 percent.

These divorces can be difficult for the couple's children even if they are adults, and they can also financially jeopardize retirement. It is less expensive to share a household than to live separately, and women often bear the brunt of the financial uncertainty. They are 80 percent more likely to live in poverty after divorce at the age of 65 and older than men are. Increased social isolation is another risk for this age group after divorce.

However, these outcomes are not inevitable, and people can take steps during negotiations over the division of assets o protect themselves financially. If the couple married later in life, they might be more likely to have a prenuptial agreement, which could offer this financial protection. Alimony is also a possibility, and if one spouse has earned considerably more than the other, the lower-earning spouse might be eligible to draw Social Security benefits on the higher-earning spouse's work record if the couple has been married for at least 10 years.

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