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Abandon ship: Captain and Tennille headed for divorce

Couples of any age in Minnesota may be thinking about getting a divorce. And while each couple has a unique set of experiences that may have led to this point, there may be similarities in these experiences depending on how long a couple has been together. Younger couples may divorce because of finances or because of arguments over how they want to raise a family, for example. But older couples who have been married for decades often have some very different reasons for ending a marriage.

Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille (who people may know better as Captain and Tennille) are 71 and 73, respectively. They were a successful musical duo and television hosts in the 1970s and have been married for nearly 40 years. But recently, it was announced that they, like a growing number of couples their age, were getting divorced.

The couple's split is just one of the many examples of what is being called "gray divorce." The term refers to people who are at least 50 years old and seeking an end to their marriage, which is a trend that has doubled in recent years. As baby boomers are getting older and life expectancies are increasing, couples are deciding later in life to get divorced and recommit themselves to an individually-focused future. They are looking for more satisfying and fulfilling lives, and that can mean ending a marriage that may not be working toward that goal.

There are also a number of difficult changes and issues that can come up after a couple has reached retirement age. Plans for retirement may be very different, health concerns can complicate matters and any children that a couple has raised have often grown up and left the home. In the divorce of Captain and Tennille, it is suggested that health complications and "hidden feelings" have contributed to the surprising split.

No matter how old a couple is when they make the decision to divorce, the process can be very complicated. Younger couples may need to be concerned about child custody while older couples often have to untangle decades of shared assets. Whether two people have been together for five or 50 years, it can be helpful to work with an attorney who understands the unique challenges that can come with any divorce.

Source: The Washington Post, "Captain and Tennille, musical duo of the '70s, divorcing after 39 years of marriage," Diana Reese, Jan. 23, 2014

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