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Texas divorce rates trending upward for older people

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

In the last twenty years, a new trend in separation has begun to manifest. Texas divorce rates, as well as rates from states all over the nation, have shown a 100% increase for people aged 50 and over. What is being termed "gray divorce" has become more prevalent than ever, and experts believe there are a number of potential reasons for the sudden trend upward.

In years past, it was considerably more common for women to remain outside the work force once they got married, and the pressure to stay married based on social obligation was much more prevalent. As time has gone on, attitudes toward marriage and the role of women in society have changed markedly, which some believe may be part of the reason why gray divorce is on the rise. Women are more financially independent and able to leave a marriage without risking financial ruin, and marriage is seen less as an obligation and more about being happy: if people are not happy in their marriages, the act of ending them is far less stigmatized. Additionally, later-life pressures including retirement and the so-called "empty nest" syndrome can place added stress on a long-standing marriage, even leading to further arguments and friction.

This isn't to say that a late-life separation is easy: career options for older people can be limited, and facing the prospect of saving for retirement on a single income can be daunting. Additionally, the prospect for remarriage becomes more remote later in life. This hasn't stopped many people from pursuing gray divorce for themselves, however.

Texas divorce isn't easy for couples of any age, but it presents unique challenges for those undergoing gray divorce. It is important at any stage in life to understand your rights and responsibilities in a divorce situation. An understanding of your state's laws regarding separation and all associated matters can make a difficult transition much easier.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "More couples splitting up after 25-year itch," Amy Saunders, April 23, 2013

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