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Making The Complex Understandable

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Why do couples divorce after many years together?

When couples divorce after years of marriage, friends and family often wonder why they didn't just stick it out for their remaining years. However, as we've noted before, divorce among people over 50 ("gray divorce") is becoming more common. In fact, in 2010, a quarter of divorces involved people who were at least 50. That's more than twice the number of "gray divorces" than 25 years prior.

So what are the main reasons for divorce among couples in their 50s and older who have had decades-long marriages? There are five primary reasons:

-- Boredom: Sometimes couples just get tired of being around each other after many years of marriage. They may also simply stop trying to be attentive or attractive to their spouse.

-- Sex: Both men and women go through hormonal changes as they age. These changes can impact sex drives. If a husband and wife's sex drives begin to differ significantly, this will impact their sexual relationship and can spill over into their marriage as a whole.

-- Growing apart: This may sound cliche, but it does happen as couples grow older and children move out. Sometimes a woman reaches a point in her life where she realizes how many goals of her own she gave up to be a wife and mother.

-- Money issues: These can be a problem from the beginning of a marriage. Too often, couples don't discuss their views on money (such as saving vs. spending) before they marry. These differences can fester over the years and finally become too much to deal with after decades of marriage.

-- Age: This can be a problem for more than one reason. A significant age difference may not be a problem when both people are relatively young. However, when one spouse slows down significantly with age and the other is still young enough to be active, this can cause a schism in the relationship.

Older people often have unique issues when they divorce. They have often accumulated significant assets. Prenups weren't as common when they married. In many cases, the wife has been out of the workforce (or at least full-time work) for many years. The couple may still be supporting children in college or graduate school. A Louisiana family law attorney can help you work to get the settlement you are seeking and protect your financial assets as you move forward after divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, "The 5 Big Reasons Why Couples Divorce After Decades Of Marriage," Linda Melone, Next Avenue, March 20, 2016

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