You may not have heard the news, but the divorce rates in the United States have fallen – except among the silver-haired crowd.
So-called “gray divorces” have doubled since the 1990s, and 25% of all divorces now involve couples in their 50s and older.
What’s causing people to end long-term marriages?
Some of the explanation for the rising gray divorce rate, undoubtedly, has to do with the fact that some people in that age group are on their second (or third) marriages – which may be harder to keep going than marriages people formed in their youth. However, there are a lot of other factors involved. These include:
- Longer life expectancy: People are living longer, and many couples may find that they have decades of life left after their children have left the home. This can lead them to reassess their relationships. When those relationships are found wanting, they may decide to pursue their personal happiness alone.
- Changing societal attitudes: Over the years, societal norms and attitudes toward divorce have evolved. There is less stigma associated with divorce now compared to previous generations, which may make older people more willing to seek divorce when they are unhappy.
- Financial independence: Women have achieved greater financial independence in recent decades, making it more feasible for them to leave a marriage without facing severe economic hardship.
- Empty nest syndrome: Once their children have grown and left home, some couples may find that they no longer have anything holding them together. Over such a long period, couples may have changed and grown in different ways, leading to a growing disconnect and a desire to pursue separate paths. This can lead to a reassessment of the relationship.
Gray divorces can result in unique challenges, such as financial complexities and concerns about loneliness and social support. Seeking legal guidance and help from financial professionals, as well as counseling services, can make the process easier.