According to statistics compiled by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, in 2014, people 50 years of age and older were two times as likely to get divorced as in 1990. And for people over the age of 65, the increase is even greater. A recent news article reports on this finding and the multiple suggested causes for this phenomenon. Interestingly enough, the law in Maryland was recently revised to make the path to divorce more streamlined and simpler to pursue. No matter the reason for this uptick, an increasing number of older Americans are seeking to divorce. The process can be messy and complicated – both emotionally and financially. To be sure you are adequately protecting your rights, as well as your family’s, it is important that you consult an experienced Maryland family law attorney as early in the process as possible.
The earlier version of the Maryland law required spouses to separate and live apart from each other for one year before they would be permitted to divorce. New legislation recently enacted does away with the one-year period, but only under certain circumstances. The new law eliminates the waiting period for couples who do not have minor children and who mutually agree to divorce and divide up their property. The law still requires parties with minor children to wait the year before allowing the divorce to go forward. Critics of the law oppose the ease with which couples may end a marriage, while supporters are in favor of the personal freedom to choose when it is time to dissolve the relationship.
While the article mentioned above does not address any one state’s laws, the sentiment is that there are several possible explanations for the reported spike in older couples choosing to divorce. For one, life expectancy is sure to play a part in the increase. People are living longer and have more time to consider how they want to spend the next 30 or so years. Furthermore, it’s become more socially acceptable to pursue divorce at this point in time. And in a greater percentage of cases, it is the woman who initiates the divorce proceeding. According to the article, women are now more empowered, liberated, and financially independent than they were years ago.
One of the most plausible reasons for the divorce rate to increase as couples age is that their children typically are older and have moved out of the family home. This gives couples more freedom and possibly less of an incentive to stay together. On the other hand, not every couple is financially secure at this point in their lives. Lack of financial resources may actually deter an otherwise unhappy couple from pursuing a separation or divorce.
At any age, making the decision to divorce or separate is not an easy one. But once the choice is made, it is important to protect yourself and your future. There are many emotional, financial, and legal hurdles to get through. To be sure that you are properly navigating the divorce process in accordance with Maryland law, you are encouraged to seek the assistance of an experienced divorce lawyer. Anthony A. Fatemi is a seasoned Maryland family law attorney with a great deal of experience representing parties in all aspects of divorce. Mr. Fatemi can be reached at (888) 519-2801 or (301) 519-2801.
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