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"Gray divorce" a concern among Minnesota couples

While the state continues to make headlines for gay marriage and gay divorce, Minnesota Public Radio recently looked into a new trend on the rise. Dubbed "gray divorce," the phenomenon strikes empty-nesters and baby-boomers. Rather than getting divorced at a young age, some couples raise their children to adulthood before opting for the split.

As another year of kids move off to college, another set of parents are left alone in their homes. The MPR report believes that this occurrence can expose underlying problems in some relationships. As a result, according to the report, divorces among these more mature couples are on the rise.

The gray divorce poses unique problems. There is no longer a debate about parenting time or custody. The kids are gone and on their own. But, there may be questions about funding college for the kids or retirement for themselves.

Getting divorced at an older age leaves individuals less time to acclimate to a single source of income prior to retirement. Therefore, couples are encouraged to think through their financial health as they go into a split. A once well-thought-out retirement plan may not work so well once a couple's household expenses are divided into two.

For older Americans, retirement and financial stability are extremely important. In a gray divorce, both parties may risk losing retirement assets and income that they need to maintain the standard of living to which they have grown accustomed. However, it is possible to face the split and still come out on the other end with the resources to begin a new stage in their lives.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio News, "How parents can adjust to empty nest, avoid 'gray divorce'" Aug. 27, 2013

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