‘Gray divorce’ on rise in Fairfax County

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – More couples in Fairfax County are getting out before death does them part.

Divorces are on the rise for couples older than 55 in the county dubbed the “divorce capital of Virginia.”

While divorce rates across the state are declining among younger couples, between 2007 and 2010 the number of divorces and annulments for men 55 to 64 rose nearly 3 percent, from 9.1 percent to 11.8 percent, according to The Fairfax Times.

The study was compiled by the Arlington law firm of Tully Rinckey PLLC, which says Fairfax County has the state’s highest number of divorces, based on its population.

“People realize they don’t have to put up with an unhappy marriage — even if they are in or near retirement,” said Eugene Oliver, family and matrimonial lawyer at the firm.

“The ‘gray divorce’ trend is highlighting how there is never a point of no return,” Oliver said.

Divorce issues for people in this age group tend to be different than for younger couples, who often have custody as the focus.

Distribution of retirement accounts, property, health insurance and alimony are the prime issues for older divorce candidates.

Oliver said if a couple has no minor children and reaches a property agreement, they can bypass a one-year separation requirement and get divorced after six months.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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