Welcome to today's Open Discussion session. I don't have any particular topic, as it's my wife's birthday today and wasn't sure if I would be available for this live hour, but her sister just called, so I'm now good for at least another hour of "self-time"! What's on YOUR mind today?
I was a bit worried there! I kept getting error messages with my welcome greeting, but it finally worked. Just close the app, reopen, and try again! Success!!
Last week and the prior, I mentioned how divorce is a growing issue in older couples. Here's something I found in an article at Business Insider (https://www.businessinsider.com/gray-divorce-attorney-insights-separation-when-older): ""Gray divorce," also known as "silver splitter" or "diamond divorce," is a term used to refer to the increasing trend of late-in-life divorces. This term first became mainstream in 2004, when AARP published a study on divorce at "midlife and beyond," and is generally used to describe adults aged 50 or older who are going through a separation."
Enjoy celebrating your wife's birthday. I'll shy out of todays "gray" topic, dos not apply. Interesting topic though.
Question: Boomers are getting divorced?
Continuing additional comments from the article: "In 2015, every 10 out of 1,000 couples aged 50 and over got divorced, which was double what their divorce rate had been in 1990. And for those over 65, the increase was even higher — it had roughly tripled in 25 years. In fact, while the overall rate of divorce has continually declined since then, the divorce rate of people over 50 is increasing. Statistically, gray divorce is and continues to be on the rise, and not just in the United States. Canada, Japan, Australia, India, and the United Kingdom have reported increases in the last decade as well. While in recent years the discussion has become more prevalent online, this is a conversation that many divorce attorneys have grown familiar with for well over two decades."
"The rise of gray divorce can potentially be attributed to a variety of things: people are living longer, both spouses are working and are therefore becoming more financially independent, and the stigma associated with divorce has shifted significantly. If you're going through a separation later in life, here's what you need to know. There may be some unique issues that you'll need to address in addition to the standard concerns of a divorce at any age, such as equitable distribution and alimony. Some problems associated with "gray divorce" include division of retirement benefits, confusion over beneficiaries, more complicated marital estates to divide up, health insurance and Medicare benefits, healthcare expenses overall, and potentially more than one support obligation."
"Additionally, a financially dependent spouse may feel they need more support given the reduced likelihood of starting a career late in life, and a financially supporting spouse may be worried about their ability to keep up support payments as they slow down or retire. The need for retirement benefits becomes more critical when you divorce later in life because people have less time to "make up" any losses they may face pursuant to a divorce. Understanding what benefits are available, and how they can be distributed, is paramount as you plan for a separate future. For example, a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, is one mechanism by which certain retirement plans can be divided. QDROs are often, but not always, necessary depending on the type of retirement plan being split. While you could expect QDROs to be seen in any divorce, it's much more likely in gray divorces, where retirement accounts tend to be more significant."
The article continues: "For many gray divorces, custody is often not relevant to the discussion because the parties' children are over the age of 18. However, there may still be issues to address to avoid involving adult children and grandchildren. Adult children can get dragged into late-in-life divorces and be asked to side with one parent or the other, and that can hurt the family unit (which is often exactly the reason why unhappy couples wait to split until after their children have grown up). There are various ways individuals can address these concerns, including estate planning and postnuptial agreements, which can all help lay out future expectations not just for the individual, but for their family."
This article by Attorney Nicole H. Sodoma of Charlotte, NC, has more great info, so please read it in full if you're in need of more details.
Now let's look at the WHYs of Gray Divorce. The information I'm now sharing comes from Attorney Jack Carney-DeBord of Columbus, Ohio (https://ohioexecutivedivorce.com/blog/gray-divorce) "Why is gray divorce becoming so much more common? We examine some of the reasons below. Empty Nesters When a couple is working and/or raising kids, they're busy. Often they are so busy that they don't notice they're growing farther apart during each passing year. Couples with children often postpone a divorce until after their children are grown and moved out of the house. One or both spouses aren't happy in the marriage, but they choose not to divorce until their children are raised. Other couples find that after their adult children leave the family home, their marriage is no longer strong enough to survive."
"Retirement Retirement can bring a dramatic change in lifestyle that can negatively affect the marriage. Now that one or both of the spouses are in retirement, they have a lot more time on their hands and realize they no longer know their husband or wife. Some retired couples find that the increase in time spent together is not a source of happiness, or that personal interests in retirement are no longer compatible."
This, I've heard. A wife rented office complete with cafe machine and newspaper, sent her retired, lost, husband there daily, at suggestion of their local priest Seemed to work!
One that people don't often talk about is this: "Sexually Just like differences in their hobbies or interests, differences in sex drives can also sink a marriage. As spouses get older, their sexual appetites may differ, sometimes dramatically. Hormone levels tend to decrease in both men and women, leading to physical issues and a lack of interest in engaging in sex. This can lead to frustration for one or both parties, and ultimately the desire to divorce."
Here's one I see a lot! " Lifestyles: Active or Passive? SeniorDivorceCoupleWalkAwayShe wants to go on vacation to all those places they talked about going but never went. He wants to hang out with his other retired buddies and play cards. She wants to stay home, order take-out and do crossword puzzles. He wants to go out to dinner every night and go golfing on the weekends. When one spouse pictures a retirement filed with activity and places to go and another imagines doing as little as possible, there ends up being problems. One spouse wants to get out there and live it up, and the other has no interest it leads to conflict and unhappiness for both of them."
The article continues with comments on Life Expectancy, Societal Expectation, Property Division, Retirement Plans, Insurance Policies, and Clarity of Mind. I encourage you to read the entire article if it applies to your situation.
Of course, divorce at ANY stage of life can be traumatic. An article at First Things First looks at five ways to help PREVENT gray divorce. (https://firstthings.org/5-ways-to-help-prevent-gray-divorce/) In summary, they are: 1 Friendship matters. ... 2 Be nice. ... 3 Seek to navigate the tough times together. ... 4 Be adventurous. ... and 5 Keep the conversations going. For each of these points, there's a comment that explains more about it. Even if you aren't in a situation of possible separation or divorce, these are great steps to take to keep any intimate relationship strong and thriving.
This last article from First Things First also mentions infidelity (whether sexual or financial) and addiction as reasons for later life divorce.
That's all we have time for today! I'm at my daughter's house for my wife's birthday and the grandson just got home -- perfect timing!! See you next week, same place and same time. Stay safe, stay distanced, mask up, and be well!