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Family law: Gray divorce comes with different challenges

Many Washington residents probably think of the typical divorcing couple as young to perhaps middle-aged, but these days, more older people are deciding to end their marriages. In fact, reportedly, the divorce rate of people over 50 is on the rise, even while the overall divorce rate has declined in recent decades. This demographic trend has even spawned a new term: gray divorce. Since older divorcing couples often face hurdles different from those of younger couples, they are wise to consult with a family law attorney to help them through the divorce process.

Older couples are seeking divorce at a higher rate than ever before, but why? For one, many couples realize over time that they have simply grown apart, and sometimes this realization comes only later in life, often once children have left the home. With less stigma attached to divorce these days, more older couples are now deciding splitting is the best option. As well, baby boomers can look forward to a potentially a much longer lifespan than previous generations, leading many older people to believe they still have plenty of time to find happiness elsewhere.

Whatever the reason for an older couple pursuing divorce, the implications of gray divorce can vary somewhat from those of divorces of younger couples. Children of older couples, even if they are grown and have moved out, may still have difficulty adjusting to a new family dynamic. In the case of a contentious divorce, adult children may actually find themselves forced to choose sides. Adult children may also be affected in various ways by the changes in the family's finances. Divorcing older couples also often face a particularly complicated situation when dividing assets and property as well as adjusting their lifestyle to one they can afford as an independent person.

Few divorcing couples find the process straightforward and stress-free. However, couples divorcing later in life, especially after many years of marriage, tend to face a particular set of challenges. For Washington couples considering divorce, and those who are ready to begin the process, knowledgeable attorneys experienced in family law are available to provide valuable legal guidance through what can be a complicated time.

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