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When the twilight no longer sparkles: divorce over 50

What happens when the spark is gone? After 20 or 30 years of marriage, many people mistakenly believe that a couple has ironed out the bumps in their relationship and the couple is prepared to go the distance. Now, as the number of gray divorces rises, people are realizing that even for people over 50, life is not that simple.

The separation of Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman after thirty years of marriage shocked the nation. With both actors being so charismatic, it was hard for many to even imagine who the bad player was in their marriage. But who says there needs to be a bad guy? Can't people just change?

Change is a hard thing for many people to accept, especially when we have become attached to what we believe once existed. The truth is, while people often like to think of two people like DeVito and Perlman as static creatures because we like who they are and what they represent, people are human and whether they like it or not, they are always changing.

When we get married, we hope that as we grow older those changes will be part of developing a deeper bond with one another, but that doesn't always happen. The reality many older Americans are confronting as they prepare to enter a new chapter of their lives is that they have, for better or worse, grown apart.

Changing Priorities for Older Americans

Sociologists studying divorce among people over 50 are finding new patterns in their reasons for divorce. Many couples are finding that they have simply drifted apart from one another and work better as friends than lovers. Others discover that after the children have grown and gone that they weren't the best match for one another after all.

Many divorcing couples are finding that their goals have changed. As they face the twilight of their life, one partner may want to explore it, while another would rather simply be.

The distinction between divorces among older and younger people is that divorce among older people is far less likely to be about bad behavior on the part of one spouse. More often older couples are divorcing because they have acknowledged that they have both changed and they don't want to be constrained by marriage that no longer fits who they are as people.

A common issue among divorcing older couples is the division of assets. Our firm has helped many couples address property division issues in divorce. For more information about how we handle these kinds of cases, please visit our Fairfax complex property division page on our website.

Since 1980 the AV-rated law firm of Hale Ball has served the legal needs of individuals and businesses. Our team of attorneys include lawyers named to Super Lawyer and Rising Star lists, as well as attorneys with advanced legal degrees, specialty certifications and lawyers who teach their areas of practice to other lawyers.

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