Making the decision to end a marriage that is not working is difficult at any age, but it is often necessary in order to live a full and fulfilling life. You are never too old to get a divorce, and the phenomenon of the “grey divorce” is real.
With roughly 39 percent of all married couples divorcing each year, it should come as no surprise that a significant number of those couples are in their golden years. Studies have shown that while divorce on the whole is decreasing, it is increasing for couples older than 50. There are many theories about why this is the case, and some speculate that changing attitudes and lessened stigma around divorce is leading to these breakups.
After long marriages that may have lasted decades, many couples find themselves growing apart. They no longer enjoy the same activities that they did in the past, and with children grown and out of the home, they find they have little in common. Personal dissatisfaction with the relationship is often a driving factor in divorces in people over the age of 50. Because there is no longer the heavy stigma traditionally associated with divorce, many couples find that they are happier single or with new partners.
Better Health Care and Longer Life Expectancy
In the past, couples were expected to stay together for life, which was simpler when the average lifespan was shorter. Now, people are regularly living healthy and active lives well into their 80s and 90s, and they are embracing the next chapters of their lives without their current spouses. Many grey divorcees cite being able to finally pursue passions, enjoy lives of purpose and find personal fulfillment as reasons to divorce.
In addition, better health care options mean that couples no longer need to stay with a spouse in order to enjoy the benefits of having a live-in caregiver. The rise of medical innovations like erectile dysfunction medication and hormone replacement therapy means that couples often seek out new partners to explore more fulfilling intimate connections.
Today’s seniors are not sitting around on the porch watching the world go by. They’re starting businesses, traveling the world, earning degrees and enjoying life. They’re electing for plastic surgery and enjoying new bodies, treating themselves to luxuries and putting themselves first for the first time in their lives. And with that comes new dating frontiers, exciting new relationships and increased personal satisfaction after divorce.
The Logistics of Grey Divorce
While divorce may be the best option for seniors who are looking to move on from their spouses, it is not without its challenges. Couples may have deeply intertwined finances, from real estate to retirement accounts, joint credit and debt.
In addition, couples who had children in their late 30s and early 40s may have minor children to consider in the divorce. If one spouse was financially dependent on the other, there may be a transitional period for that spouse to become independent. Family traditions may shift as even adult children have to adjust to the reality of their parents’ separation and all the change that the breakup entails.
When it comes to divorcing later in life, it helps to have a trusted and competent team of attorneys on your side to help you through the process and expedite your move into your new life. Grey divorce can be tricky as you work out details like Social Security benefits, life insurance policies, division of assets and child custody. Our team of caring attorneys have decades of experience in this area and will work with you to get you the best possible outcome.