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The challenges people face after a gray divorce

Divorce rates in California and around the country have not changed much in several decades, but the number of couples over the age of 50 choosing to end their marriages has risen sharply. Today, one in four divorces involves older spouses. In 1990, that figure was just one in 10. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, and it is raising concerns because people who end marriages after several decades often grapple with difficult emotional issues and sometimes face severe financial problems.

Living alone can be extremely hard for individuals who have spent many years sharing their days with somebody else, and it is not uncommon for people who have gone through a gray divorce to suffer from clinical depression. When researchers from Bowling Green State University looked into the consequences of divorcing later in life, they discovered that depression was more common among recent divorcees than it was among the recently widowed. In addition to psychological challenges, older divorcees may encounter health-related issues like weight gain and hypertension.

Common reasons for divorce are lack of love, communication issues

Researchers who asked more than 2,300 people why they got a divorce found that many couples have a lack of emotional satisfaction in their marriages. Rather than behavioral reasons, such as violence and addiction, exes pointed to psychological reasons, such as a lack of love or trust, that led the divorce. The study authors, who published their findings in the "Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy," reflected that this represented a shift in how marriage is perceived. Increasingly, people seek to be emotionally fulfilled in marriage. Many spouses in California may be willing to leave a relationship that does not provide that fulfillment.

Survey respondents were recently separated and had an average age of 45. Overall, the lack of love in a marriage was the No. 1 reason for splitting up. In second place was poor communication. The third most common reason was that trust had been breached and could not be rebuilt, or one or both individuals lost respect for the other. In fourth place, exes claimed they had spread apart over the years.

Keeping the family home after a divorce

For many California couples who are preparing for a divorce, determining what to do with the family home may be the most difficult decision that needs to be made. Some former couples choose to sell the family home and split the proceeds while others choose to have one former spouse buy out the other. What a former couple chooses to do with the family home will depend on their unique set of circumstances.

In the event that one former spouse wants to keep the family home, several steps will need to be taken before discussions begin. First, the value of the home must be estimated in order to determine if one person is able to buy out the other person. Once the value is known, the former couple can subtract what is owed and divide the remaining half to determine each person's share in the home.

Handling social media during a divorce

When it comes to handling social media during a divorce, the best approach is to avoid oversharing. Anything a California resident posts on social media can be used against them in a divorce. Even an amicable divorce can quickly become much less amicable if one spouse posts something inappropriate.

Many people feel the need to vent online, but social media is not the place to do it. Instead, those who want to complain about a spouse should talk to family, friends or a therapist. A spouse who is considering divorce may want to tighten privacy settings and check friends lists to see if there are any potential troublemakers who should be removed. No matter the situation, details of the divorce agreement should also not be shared online.

Good records can lead to custody rights

The right documentation can help a California parent win custody of his or her children. For instance, phone call logs can help a noncustodial parent show that there was an effort made to stay in touch with a son or daughter. Alternatively, a noncustodial parent could use phone or similar records to allege that the custodial parent made it difficult or impossible to contact the child. Phone records should indicate how often calls were made and how long they lasted.

Parents should also record each visit that they make with their children. A visitation log should keep track of how often visits took place, where they took place and how much time a parent spent with a son or daughter. Noncustodial parents can use this log to establish that they are involved in their child's life.

Unaffordable weddings may lead to divorce

California couples planning their weddings may find that financial planning can help them to avoid divorce later on. According to one study conducted by loan company LendingTree, taking on additional debt to pay for the expenses of a wedding ceremony is highly correlated with later financial tension and even divorce within a marriage.

Many couples want to begin their lives together with an elaborate, elegant ceremony, even if they have little financial security on their own. As a result, a large number of people take on debt in order to pay for their weddings. LendingTree noted that 45% of newly married couples aged 18 to 53 went into debt for wedding costs.

Protecting children's interests if a second marriage fails

As second marriages increase throughout the country, many California residents have discovered that tension can build due to finances, particularly when the new spouses have children from prior marriages. Money can be a source of stress for most relationships; however, there are ways to prevent the tension building so much that it hurts the relationship.

One way to prevent these types of issues from popping up later in the marriage is by agreeing to a prenup. While it can be a delicate subject and might seem like the person is thinking about divorcing even before the marriage, a prenup can be used to clearly outline and define which interests will be kept separate, to be inherited by each spouse's children, and which can be shared. Prenups can also so be used to define if a person wants their money to continue supporting their spouse in case of their death, but then be available to their own children once their spouse dies.

Reduce the impacts of divorce on your children

Making the decision to divorce when you have children puts them in the middle of the situation. Minimizing the impact on them must be a priority for both parents. It isn't always going to be easy and it might require you and your ex to work together. Just remember that the needs of the children come first.

The trauma of divorced parents can be far-reaching. It has been suggested that children who have divorced parents are twice as likely to develop health issues and are also two times more likely to drop out of high school. Even if your children aren't heading in that direction, there are some ways that you can reduce the impacts of your divorce.

Dealing with post-divorce financial changes

It's understandable that many soon-to-be ex-spouses in California are concerned with the financial implications of ending a marriage. While divorce can stir up many painful emotions, it can also have a long-lasting impact on the pocketbook. After the divorce is completed, an ex will have to adjust to a new budget as a single person. According to one study, many people need to increase their income by almost one-third in order to maintain a pre-divorce standard of living.

One of the most important steps that newly divorced individuals can take for their own well-being is developing a personal budget. This can take into account new responsibilities or inflows like child support or spousal support as well as a person's single income. An update of financial documents should also accompany this new budget. It's often wise to not make changes to financial accounts while a divorce is pending. After it's over, however, a divorcee should act quickly to change the beneficiaries on their life insurance policies, retirement accounts and investment funds. In addition, they may need to update their estate planning documents to reflect their new status.

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