Untying The Knot


Untying the Knot

Divorce is increasingly becoming a gray area.

While overall divorce rates in the U.S. have dropped continuously since 1981, one surprising generation is seeing an increase.

The term “gray divorce” is used to label a trend among older Americans who are untying the knot. Since 1990, the divorce rate for Americans over the age of 50 has doubled, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, and it’s more than doubled for those over 65. One out of every four divorced persons is 50 or older, and nearly one in 10 is 65 or older. In fact, 55% of “gray divorces” are between couples who have been married for more than 20 years.

They might be your clients.

Consider the list of issues for older divorcing couples: smaller incomes, medical expenses, insurance coverage, pensions, social security, and the emotional toll the divorce may take on their developed family.

“When a person is contemplating or going through a divorce it can be overwhelming, both emotionally and financially, especially as many of these couples may be nearing retirement,” says John Koehler, senior vice president of Transamerica’s Advanced Markets Group.

As their financial advisor, you play a crucial role in providing your clients with resources and solutions during the divorce process. They might depend on you to fulfill each party’s financial desires.

“Having a checklist of things to consider or to do can help,” Koehler said. “It can be reassuring to know what you need to prepare, address, and relieve some of the stress that you may have overlooked something.”

Notable post nuptial facts:
  • Who initiates divorce in later life?
    • 66% women
    • 41% men
  • As of 2013, 23% of the married population has been married before, up 10% from 1960
  • 42 million adults in the U.S. have been married more than once
  • 8% of newly married adults have been married three times or more


Brown, S. L., & Lin, I.-F., The gray divorce revolution: Rising divorce among middle-aged and older adults, 1990–2010, 2012
Four-in-Ten Couples are Saying “I Do,” Again, Pew Research Center, 2014
Navigating the Gray Divorce with Dignity, Huffington Post, 2012



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