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Why is gray divorce on the rise lately?

You may have heard that gray divorce -- a common term for when two people get divorced later in life -- is on the rise in the United States. In fact, it has been said that about 25 percent of all divorce cases involve these individuals who are around retirement age.

Have you ever wondered why this is? Why are so many people splitting up so late in life?

There are a few different reasons. One is simply that there are 74.6 million baby boomers in the United States. With such a dramatic rise in population for this age group, it stands to reason that there are simply more people in that age bracket to get divorced. Even if their gray divorce rate was the same as the generation before them, they'd have more overall divorce cases.

Another reason is the rise in life expectancy. People live longer than before. That gives them more time to get divorced. Fewer marriages end at this age because a spouse passes away.

Perhaps the biggest reason, though, is that ideas about marriage and divorce have changed. Divorce was once seen as taboo and it was rather difficult in some cases. Now, with no-fault divorce laws and other changes, it's easier to split up. It's also more socially acceptable, so people tend not to stay together just because of what others will think. The lower divorce rate in previous generations did not mean that those couples were happy.

If you do decide to get divorced, doing so at this age leads to some complex questions, and you need to make sure you are well aware of your rights.

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