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Are you going through a gray divorce?

Gone are the days when couples routinely stay married for 50 or 60 years. While those couples still exist out there, they are the exception and not the rule.

Over the last quarter-century, the divorce rate for couples age 50 and over in the United States has doubled. Perhaps even more surprisingly, for those older than 65, it is higher still, even while divorce rates for other demographic groups have evened out or even dropped off.

Perhaps people today feel entitled to more fulfillment and happiness than their forebears. Fewer aging Baby Boomers want to just go through the motions of a "happy" marriage. They don't want to give up on the possibility of real happiness.

Finances factor into gray divorces, too. Women have achieved more financial parity and are less dependent on their men for economic sustenance. They don't have to weigh the cost of remaining in a loveless marriage against living in poverty.

Be careful about falling into the trap of keeping the marital home, as you could wind up "house-poor" and unable to keep up with the taxes and repairs. It can be smarter to sell it or let your ex buy you out and get a smaller, more manageable place.

If you are walking away from a long-term marriage, you may be able to parlay your alimony into a lucrative investment, but a second marriage of shorter duration may not pay as much spousal support. There will be tax consequences associated with pension disbursements, so make sure that you fully understand the terms.

Working closely with your family law attorney as you divide up the spoils of your marriage can provide you with a clearer picture of your financial footing as you embark on the next act of your life.

Source: Forbes, "Gray Divorce: 'Til Death Do Us Part?," Neale Godfrey, accessed Sep. 09, 2016

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