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Managing the far-reaching impacts of ‘gray divorce’

As of 2015, one in four people ending a marriage in the United States was 50 years old or above. Retirement-aged Americans may find themselves in a situation where a divorce is the best option for their future. In some cases, older couples in Massachusetts have an easier time parting ways, as children are already grown and shared wealth is enough to set both parties up for the future. In other cases, physical health, heavily intertwined finances and psychological impacts can make “gray divorce” a uniquely challenging path to walk.

In general, stressful events can have an impact on one’s physical health. Those going through a divorce may experience heightened blood pressure and difficulty sleeping. Some may lean on vices, like returning to smoking after quitting, which could be bad for health. Psychologically, there is also a risk; while most people are about to weather the storm, experts warn that separation or divorce could trigger depression in 10 to 15% of people.

Longtime married couples may face more challenges building independent lives than their younger counterparts. If one person was largely responsible for keeping the social calendar, for example, losing the marriage could also mean losing many friends. If one person did most of the cooking, one’s diet could take a nosedive. 

Money, often, is the biggest stressor in any divorce. Those who are nearing or already in retirement may find themselves at odds over things like pensions and retirement savings, especially if one party was the “bread winner” while the other did the bulk of child rearing and homemaking. A Massachusetts divorce lawyer can help advocate for individuals in a split and ensure they understand state family law to move forward. Having effective legal counsel can alleviate stress and help manage or prevent many potential challenges.

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