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Divorce among older couples increasingly common

In Michigan, as in many other states, the divorce rate is high and steadily rising. According to some statistics, while 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, 67 percent of second marriages and 74 percent of third marriages in the United States also end in divorce.

Clearly, individuals who have been married for a number of years (or a number of times) are still deciding to split up, while it used to be the case that that couples who were not married so long were the vast majority of people seeking divorce. But now couples who have been married for 30, 40 or 50-plus years have found that divorce is a viable option. No matter how long a marriage has lasted, if it is an unhappy and unfulfilling situation for the parties involved, then divorce may be the best answer.

In some cases of relatively late divorce, it may be that after the two spouses established their careers, they became less willing to compromise their individual goals and needs. Longer life expectancies may also lead couples to take a harder look at each other and ask if they want to spend their golden years working on their marriage, or if they want to enjoy that time apart.

The state has its own rules and regulations with respect to divorce and how the courts handle divorce settlements. These laws apply regardless of the age of the parties or whether the union lasted five days or five decades. While Michigan does not require a substantial waiting period before filing for divorce, there are residency requirements that have to be addressed before those living in Michigan can file for the dissolution of a marriage. Also, the grounds for divorce in Michigan have to be substantiated and proven by both people involved.

Michigan residents of any age with questions about divorce are well advised to consider every legal option for achieving an equitable settlement. A solid divorce strategy may be especially important for older individuals whose goal it is to protect assets accumulated over time.

Source: Huffington Post, "I'm Forty Years Old And My Parents Are Divorcing!" Kristen Houghton, July 5, 2012

Source: divorcerate.org, "Divorce Rate," 2012

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