Divorce rates are on the decline, generally, in Oklahoma and across the country, but people over the age of 50 are getting divorced twice as often as they were in 1990. The trend has been referred to as gray divorce; people are more often divorcing later in life. For people aged 65 or older, the rate of divorce has tripled since 1990.

Researchers have said that gray divorce becomes more likely for couples not necessarily when they are going through life transitions, but simply when the people are dissatisfied with the marriage. Divorce may be more common in the first years of an empty nest or following retirement, but these don’t correlate strongly with gray divorce in particular. There have been studies indicating that the chances of divorce may increase dramatically when a close friend or relative divorces.

Divorcing later in life can have significant financial consequences for the people involved. According to a 2014 report by the Government Accountability Office, a single person 65 years old or older uses 79 percent of a two-person household income. Each of the people after the divorce needs to make 79 percent of what they made together before. Divorcing late in life can thus put the parties under financial strain. These financial problems can, in many cases, be tempered or avoided with planning.

People in Oklahoma who are approaching or going through a divorce might want to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer with experience in family law might be able to help by negotiating the terms of property settlement with the other spouse, acting as a mediator or by assisting with a simple, uncontested divorce. In cases where pensions, 401(k)s or other retirement assets are at issue, a lawyer might provide advice regarding the division of those assets.