Divorce is on the rise among older adults, and people in Pennsylvania who are 50 and older may be as much as two times more likely to get a divorce compared to the same age group in 1990. Compared to their counterparts in 1990, those 65 and older are three times as likely to divorce.

Looking for reasons to explain this surge, researchers have wondered whether major life transitions that occur at this time such as retirement or the empty nest are factors but found no correlation. Older adults divorce for reasons similar to those of younger adults. They do so because they are no longer happy in the relationship.

There are certain indicators that a person may be more likely to divorce. Second and subsequent marriages of shorter duration are more vulnerable. Men with divorced parents are 35 percent more likely to also get a divorce and women with that background are 60 percent more likely.

Divorce can be particularly hard on older adults. They may feel more isolated socially and might struggle financially as well. Divorced women who are 65 and older are 80 percent more likely than men in the same situation to live in poverty, and overall, studies show that it is more costly to maintain two separate households than one.

For these reasons, a fair property division agreement may be particularly important for older adults. They may also have accumulated significant assets that need to be divided. In some cases, dividing or selling some assets could lead to loss of value, and people may want to try to reach an agreement where each takes certain assets of roughly equal value instead. When this happens, it is important to account for any taxes, penalties or other expenses associated with the assets that might reduce their value.