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As of this week, Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce is final. It was approved by Washington state on Aug. Recent high-profile separations like the Gates' and Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott have brought national attention to a growing trend: gray divorces.

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While the U. According to the most recent data from the U. In other words, couples in long-term marriages, perhaps staying in a less-than-ideal situation until their kids left the proverbial nest, are now forging their own single paths. Like any life decision, there are a few things one should consider before splitting up at an older age.

And of course, life-long friends who were there to offer emotional support.

Why more couples are divorcing at older ages (and after more years of marriage) than before — and what you can do to avoid it

No two marriages or circumstances are the same, and every divorce will require a unique set of compromises, but if you are older and considering leaving your spouse, here are a few things divorce lawyers, family therapists and those who have been there, encourage you to consider. Shirey suggests you ask yourself a few key questions before you move forward with a formal separation or divorce:. But before thinking about money, Shirey advises that people take stock of their personal feelings, goals and expectations for both married and single life. Mary Katherine Brownan attorney practicing family and matrimonial law for more than 20 years in New York City, said that a of factors can make divorce later in life actually easier.

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That was certainly the case for Katy Leopard, 53, who divorced after 22 years of marriage. While she decided to remain in her marriage until her kids were older and did have a difficult time bucking the social stigma of divorce, when she did make the break she realized that her age and life experiences were helping her go through with her decision.

Women at this age know what to give a f about and what really does not matter.

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That was the case for Christine F. Christine asked that her last name be omitted to protect her family's privacy. While her children ranging in ages from 10 to 17 years old at the time seemed to adjust to the separation seamlessly, she later learned the divorce did take a toll.

But years later, Christine said her oldest child had been working through some resentment regarding the separation. Two of my children are now 19 and We are learning in new ways all the time how our divorce impacted their lives.

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Instead, she encourages parents to make themselves available, to be willing to have difficult conversations, and to be forthright with their children. And honestly, the best way that parents can prepare their children is to be prepared themselves. Was my childhood a lie?

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Were you faking it? Are my memories real?

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So parents really need to be aware that that thinking may happen and be willing and able to field questions and have some harsh conversations. There are some unique challenges for those who divorce later in life, though, many of which deal with finances and the division of marital assets.

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Who is going to carry that on? Who is going to control the legacy? Instead of, how am I going to get my extra billion because, I mean, how many billions do you need?

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When someone has spent 20 or more years trusting their partner to handle the finances, for example, there can be a disconnect between how much something costs, for example, or how much money is really available to them, once they are separated and responsible for handling their own finances. And why would you? They have a job to do and they all work together to get the job done.

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Green stressed that if there are allegations of domestic violence or restraining orders involved, mediation is not an option, due to the imbalance of power present in the relationship that would put one party at a disadvantage versus the other. While divorce has certainly become more commonplace and relatively accepted by the general public over the years, it still carries a ificant amount of shame, stigma and judgment, especially among certain religious populations. Nobody has a crystal ball and we make the best decisions we can based on the information we have at the time.

What is a 'gray divorce'? 6 things to know about splitting up later in life

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Share this —. Follow today. More Brands. Bill and Melinda Gates announce they are divorcing after 27 years of marriage May 4, Kelly Clarkson discusses getting candid about divorce with first lady Jill Biden March 1, How do I cope?

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Bill and Melinda Gates are separating after 27 years of marriage.


Marriage, divorce and widowhood are all ificant events in the lives of anyone who has ever been married but they are especially prevalent among the older population.