Divorce after turning 50

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While numbers of divorce are high, the divorce rate for over 50 continues to increase. Divorce later in life is different than in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. You have known this person for over half of your life, have set up home, assets, family, maybe even set up a business to Divorce after 50.

You have a considerable history together and most all friends are yours together. Memories and experiences have been shared with your partner for decades. Divorce is a journey of relinquishing and transformation. Women often recover faster from divorce later in life yet suffer more financially. Women often have a larger social circle and seek support while men often battle alone and remain silent. Before we separate there are a number of things to consider.

Issues to consider:

Children

Children are now young adults and while we think they are immune to divorced parent issues, think again, they are not as they remain your children and can be affected regardless of age. They worry about different things when parents’ divorce later in life. Things such as financial security, health care and social aspects of life are all raised. Then we have issues like family gatherings, Christmas, anniversaries and the grandchildren’s birthdays and events.

Divorce Process

These days we have mediation to sort out issues with children and property. Solicitors are not needed unless there is an impasse between the parties. If solicitors are used, then conflict escalates and the once married people can quickly become enemies fighting to win. Any discussion on assets and finances can be highly emotional.

Finances

In Australia, everything within the marriage, regardless of who earned what or whose name it is in, belongs equally to both partners. This includes house, motor vehicles, superannuation, business. Once children are over 18 years then often a 50/50 split is made on everything. This then, of course, means your finance pool is significantly impacted and this can be a major issue especially if one of the partners never wanted to divorce.

Ongoing income

This is often where women are left out on a limb. Many have worked part-time to raise their children, care for the home and husband while he has progressed in his career, is earning good money and is stable in his job. She, on the other hand, is only working perhaps part-time or earning less. How can she survive or borrow enough to repurchase? Women do not often have the same career opportunities as men in later age, especially if not experienced compared to others (men) who have worked full time for most of their life.

Friends

Couples married a long time have mostly joint friends. When the relationship ends, so do many friendships. Even being the third person at events can add pressure to good relationships with friends fearful you may try to take their partner as a replacement. Divorce can often divide friendships as friends make assumptions and judgements.

Counselling

Before deciding to separate, I implore you to seek professional couples counselling. Many issues can be resolved, new communication skills can be learnt to open up your relationship to understand the reason for behaviours and ways t alleviate many annoyances. Divorce is final, harsh and painful for everyone and unless there is a significant reason such as abuse or violence, then consider seeking support first.

Life can be wonderful again

People stay together later in life for different reasons. We also connect with anothre person for a vareity of reasons. These can include love, lust, friendship, financial, comfort, security, commonality. All of these reasons are valid. We do not necessarily need to be in hot lustful love to be happy in a relationship. We must learn from every relationship and know that when both partners are kind, tolerant, supportive, loving, appreciative and considerate, life can be amazing.

Read more from Dr Karen