Tennessee gray divorce: Tips to help better ensure a successful split

Although the overall divorce rate in the United States remains somewhat steady, numerous studies are finding that break-ups within one specific age group is on the rise. Researchers focusing on this family law issue are reporting that the divorce rate for those over the age of 50 has doubled between the years of 1990 and 2010.

Statistics breaking down the divorce rate by age in Tennessee are not currently available, but it does appear that the overall rate in the state is remaining fairly steady. The Tennessee Department of Health reports that the rate of divorce in the state has remained fairly steady since 2009. In 2009 the rate was 4.2 per 1,000-population while the rate in 2012 was 4.3.

More on the research

The published studies focused on the divorce rate at a national level. A study out of Bowling Green State University's National Center for Family & Marriage Research is one of the more prominent publications. The report, The Gray Divorce Revolution: Rising Divorce among Middle-aged and Older Adults, 1990-2010, analyzed data collected by the U.S. Vital Statistics Report and 2010 American Community Survey. Based on this information, the researchers found that baby boomers were responsible for almost one in four divorces in 2010.

This is one of the most recent studies, but it is not the only one. A study back in 2004 by AARP noted similar trends. Ten years ago researchers were already commenting on how divorce over the age of 50 was becoming a "common experience."

Special concerns for grey divorcees

Although divorce is never easy, the fact that divorce for baby boomers is not a new experience has helped ease the process for those currently going through a split. Previous break-ups provide lessons that can help reduce the risk of unforeseen negative consequences. One of the key considerations for those in this age group is the careful review of retirement assets. In some cases, court documents finalizing a divorce are not enough to split assets without penalty and fees. Instead, an additional document referred to as a QDRO, or qualified domestic relations order, is required. QDROs can be required to ensure an alternate payee receives payment from certain 401(k)s, pension plans or other retirement accounts.

This is just one of many issues that can arise in a divorce proceeding. As a result, those going through a split are encouraged to seek out the counsel of an experienced Tennessee family law attorney. This legal representative will be able to advocate for your rights and help better ensure a more successful split.