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Study says more women initiate late-life divorce

Many people believe that divorce happens earlier in a marriage rather than later in life. AARP recently sponsored a study to look at late-term divorce in order to see who initiated the decision, why the decision was initiated and what the children of older divorcing adults felt.

The study sponsored by AARP looked at people who decided to divorce at midlife and older. Researchers who conducted the study found that women were more likely to initiate the decision to divorce than men. Perhaps in relation, many of the men who participated in the study were surprised by their former wives' decision to divorce.

Researchers found that greater financial independence and changing attitudes towards gender roles contributed to the decision of women to divorce later in life. Though many women and men said their decisions to get a divorce was based on unhappiness in the relationship, a majority of women cited heavier reasons for their exit.

Sixty-six percent of the women surveyed for the study said they initiated their divorces because of abuse. The term abuse was defined in the study as physical and verbal abuse as well as infidelity.

Participants in the study said they often waited to divorce later in life out of concern for their children. Of parents who decided to divorce later in life because of their children, thirty-seven percent believed their children supported their decision to divorce. Another 17 percent felt their children were "okay" with the decision. Twenty percent said their children were upset and eighteen percent believed their children were very upset by the divorce.

Source: bemidjipioneer.com, "AARP study explores late-term divorce," Dave Olson, Sept. 18, 2011

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