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Later life divorce keeps overall divorce rates steady

Summer is wedding season, but as Maryland couples are planning their nuptials, many others could be heading for divorce court. The divorce rate in the United States continues to hover around 50 percent, with older couples making up a large portion of that statistic.

The number of U.S. divorces hit a high in the 1980s, but in recent years it has dropped, according to government statistics. Despite that, sociologists predict a divorce rate of a little over 50 percent for current marriages. Younger people are staying married longer, making overall divorce rates lower than in the past. But the divorce rate for older couples is up. The divorce rate for people from 55 to 64 years of age doubled in the years between 1990 and 2012, and tripled for people over 65.

A sociologist from Bowling Green State University explains that as people get older, they may find more reasons for divorce. Baby boomers generally got married younger. But they also entered adulthood at a time when women were becoming equals in the workforce and gaining financial independence. These facts, combined with a divorce becoming easier to obtain, could explain the rise in divorces for older couples. Sociologists base their prediction of a continuing 50 percent divorce rate on current data, which suggests that young married couples might find the same motivations to end their marriages later on.

Couples who divorce after many years of marriage might have many shared assets and shared expenses. Some of the things that divorce mediation could address include property division, and a resulting agreement reviewed by the parties' respective family law attorneys could then be submitted to the court for its approval.

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