In Missouri and across the United States, more and more couples are deciding to separate later in life after decades of marriage. Although overall divorce rates have somewhat leveled off in recent years, the divorce rate among those over 50 years of age has skyrocketed. According to recent statistics, 25 percent of divorces these days involve couples who are 50 years of age or older. This trend has become known as gray divorce.

Finances are a major concern in any divorce but, for late-life divorces, the financial challenges one faces can be unique. It is imperative for both spouses to gain an understanding of all finances. In many marriages, one person is typically responsible for the majority of financial decisions. Those who suddenly find themselves single later in life can be hit with a variety of surprises if they do not familiarize themselves with things like assets and the costs of living.

Although divorce at any stage in life is difficult and stressful, gray divorce may also have many potential benefits. For example, traditional stay-at-home mothers may be able to explore different career opportunities that might not have been available to pursue before their marriage ended. This can also be a time to travel, meet new people or pick up new hobbies.

Without question, the end of a marriage is life-altering experience, especially for older couples who have been together for years. Although a gray divorce can be challenging, it can also be a time of optimism. A crucial piece of advice for those in Missouri contemplating divorce at any stage in life could be to consult with a legal representative. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can answer questions and help guide individuals through this stressful experience.