More and more we are seeing older couples seek out mediation for their divorces. This is not surprising now that research has shown that the average divorce rate of couples 50 and over has doubled. This phenomena has been called the “gray divorce.” Dr. Robi Ludwig wrote for Today that there are numerous factors that can explain why this trend may be happening. We are more accepting of divorce in our culture than we have ever been. Our culture now puts more of a value on our emotional health. Women are more independent and wealthier, thus making it easier for them leave the marriage. Whatever the reasons may be, divorcing after 20+ years of marriage is much different than divorcing when haven’t survived the stereotypical 7 year itch.
A common issues that arise in mediation with couples that have been together many years are those related to their finances and retirement. We highly recommend working with a financial planner to understand what is best for the couple when divorcing. There are many roads you can take when deciding how you want to settle and they all depend on your specific situation. The most important part about mediation is doing what is fair for each person. This is a different approach than having your divorce judgment held to a standard determined by the courts. Sometimes, if you handle your divorce in the court system, the financial repercussions can be devastating.
It is important to work with a mediator that understands your needs. Whether you have been together 1 year or 30 years, you can divorce without ending up in financial ruin. While we have known that the divorce demographic is changing, we value changing the way people divorce.