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Looking after your own needs is okay after decades of marriage

At one time in the history of America, it was scandalous for people to end a marriage no matter how unhappy it made them. For those 65 and older, divorce was an uncommonly rare event.

Well, times have changed, and so have divorce trends. Older couples (55 to 64) continue to account for most divorces in recent years. However, the divorce rate for those between 65 and 74 is rising, currently estimated at about 40%.

Why the increase?

You might think the uncertainty and financial hardships that sometimes arise after divorce would keep older couples married. On the contrary, it seems that more of them are willing to trade lifestyle security for personal fulfillment.

Here are three common reasons seniors give themselves permission to end an unfulfilling marriage.

1. They live longer. Advancements in medicine help Americans live longer. However, the prospect of spending even more time in an unhappy relationship is distasteful to many.

2. They feel empowered. It took some time, but older folks feel much more empowered to change undesirable elements of their lives, including divorcing someone who cannot or will not meet their personal needs.

3. They have diverging goals. Maybe your spouse wants to sit in an armchair and while away their remaining years while you prefer to travel and try new things. When late-life goals are vastly different, divorce might be the ideal solution.

Protect yourself in a gray divorce

Like other divorcing couples, you want a fair share of marital property, but older couples often have many complex assets to divide, such as multiple retirement accounts. Legal guidance and knowledge of Illinois property division laws can protect your interests and leave you with the divorce settlement you deserve.