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U.S. Census data confirms gray divorce trend

In recent years, America has experienced a "gray divorce" trend. The gray divorce trend refers to the fact that more people are getting divorced later in life than ever before. Now, an analysis of U.S. Census data from the Minnesota Population Center has provided some hard numbers to substantiate the trend.

Researchers looked at Americans' marital status by age group in 2013, the most recent year for which numbers are available. They compared this to similar data from 1960 and 1980. The results show that many more Americans in their 40's and 50's have experienced divorce or separation than in previous decades.

The data shows that in 2013, 12 percent of Americans, aged 30 were already separated, divorced or in a second or subsequent marriage. The category does not include those who are widowed. This is about the same percentage for this age group in 1960, but a much smaller percentage than in 1980, when about 24 percent of 30-year-olds were separated, divorced or remarried.

For Americans over 40, the data shows that significantly higher numbers of Americans have been through separation or divorce. At age 59, 42 percent of Americans fell into this category in 2013. This compares to under 20 percent in 1960 and under 25 percent in 1980.

A divorce later in life raises different issues than a divorce between spouses in their 20's or 30's. For older couples with adult children, child custody and child support are no longer issues. Property division can be more complicated, however, because older couples tend to have acquired more marital assets. Retirement accounts are often one of the more significant assets for middle-aged and older couples. Special rules must be followed when splitting most retirement plans to maintain the plans' tax benefits.

Older spouses facing the end of a marriage need to understand their legal rights in the property division process. Working with an experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer can help ensure one's rights are protected.

Source: Business Insider, "Here's when you're probably going to get divorced," Andy Kiersz, Feb. 14, 2016

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