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Older people divorcing in increasing numbers

Both people in Massachusetts and in the rest of the country have seen divorce rates for most age groups decline over the past decade. The opposite is true, however, for couples who are over the age of 50. Instead, older people have divorce rates that are actually increasing.

The phenomenon of older couples divorcing is called "gray divorce." Experts believe the divorce rate is increasing for this age group due to several factors. Couples who are older may be in their second marriages, which have been shown to be much likelier to end in divorce than first marriages.

Many younger couples stay married due to the prohibitive financial costs associated with divorce. Older people may be more financially secure and not have the same concerns. Another reason for the senior divorce rate increasing is thought to be the increasing life spans. In the past, if people believed they didn't have much time left to live, they may have stayed together. Now, when people are in a loveless marriage and believe they might have 20 or 30 more years to live, they may decide that ending their marriage is worth it instead of being miserable for years.

No matter the age of a divorcing spouse, divorce litigation can become very expensive, especially if people battle over everything in court. It may be in a person's best interests to try to arrive at a full agreement outside of the court process. One alternate dispute resolution for divorce cases is called divorce mediation. In mediation, the couple meets with a trained third party who works to facilitate an agreement between them. A family law attorney may explain other aspects of the process to a divorcing spouse.

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