A recent study shows that the number of older Americans deciding to divorce is growing.

If it seems that the number of older residents in Fort Collins who are divorced, or on their second or third marriage is growing, this may not be far from the truth. A recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information states that over a twenty-year period, the divorce rate among people over the age of 50 has doubled in the U.S.

The numbers come from the 2010 American Community Survey and a U.S. Vital Statistics Report. Furthermore, if people already had a previous marriage that ended in divorce, the risk that their second marriage would end the same way was 2.5 times higher than people in their first marriage.

Possible causes

The reason for the rising divorce rate among older Americans has several potential causes. One of these may be the increasing focus on self-satisfaction. Some couples, after raising their children, may feel that what brought them originally together, has disappeared from their relationship. Unhappy with the way things are, they may feel that going their separate ways will provide them with new opportunities to find personal happiness.

Another factor could be the public acceptance of divorce. It is no longer embarrassing to be the divorced person in the room and in fact, there has been an emergence of dating sites specifically marketed to older singles and divorced seniors. Women are also more independent and may want to pursue a career that they gave up when they married.

Challenges for older couples

When an older couple separates, there are several things that they will need to take into consideration. For instance, one factor that older couples should carefully look at is their medical benefits. If one spouse is dependent on the other for health insurance, that spouse will have to find a way to obtain health coverage. This could place an additional financial burden on that spouse.

USA Today states that retirement plans will often change dramatically for a couple divorcing later in life. It may cost up to 30 percent more for people to retire after they divorce since there will be two separate lifestyles for which the retirement plan must provide. People may have to work longer to make up the difference and postpone plans for world travel, giving money to their children or living in the large family home. To avoid making choices that could affect them negatively later in life, people should consider hiring a financial planner who can help them understand what their needs will be.

Seeking legal counsel is also a good idea as an attorney can advise people on what property division laws in Colorado entail and what assets or monies may be counted as marital property.