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When older couples divorce, the stakes are different

Though getting divorced sometimes offers a measure of relief, it can still be an unsettling process. Life may become very different for divorced men and women from what it was before. This is especially true for older adults and seniors after going through a divorce. Older men and women separating in Alberta will face a unique set of challenges.

Statistically speaking, an increased number of older couples are separating these days than in the past. This is partly to do with changing attitudes towards divorce; generally speaking, society no longer takes as dim a view of divorce, as was once the case. Longer life expectancies also play a role, with people choosing not to spend their remaining years in an unhappy marriage. Having more women in the workforce has increased opportunities for women to survive financially on their own, and this has also played a part.

Still, finances may be the single greatest hardship for divorced seniors. It can be difficult for older men and women to find employment, if they need it. Also, pensions and retirement savings may not provide enough income, especially if one partner was still working. And if either of the two individuals has health issues, they will have extra expenditures to cover, and potentially decreased ability to pay for them.

Children are generally no longer an issue for older adults, they also being older and self-sufficient. So the focus of a senior or "gray divorce" is on finances and assets. The challenge is to divide the accumulated assets of the marriage equitably and see to it both parties are going to be comfortable and financially secure. A family law firm may be the right place to turn for Alberta seniors seeking to divorce. The associates there might be able to help create a plan to allow both halves of the former couple to transition smoothly into this next stage of their lives.

Source: Rochester Business Journal, "Older divorcing couples face unique issues", Todd Etshman, Oct. 14, 2016

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