While overall divorce rates have remained relatively stable for years now, the dissolution rate for one demographic group has steadily risen – people over 50. Pew Research reports that the divorce rate for that age group has doubled since 1990 (now there are an average of 10 divorcing couples for every 1,000 married people, up from just five in 1990).
The rate at which divorces increased for people over 65 has gone up even more dramatically. This age group sees more than triple the amount of divorce now than in 1990 (six splits for every 1,000 married people, compared to two in 1990). So, if divorce rates haven’t climbed, what is the reason for the sharp uptick in older people ending their marriages?
Experts attribute this increase in so-called “gray divorces” to a number of factors:
- Longer life spans – people are now living 20 or 30 years (or more) past retirement age, so the thought of spending the remainder of their lives in an unhappy marriage is much less appealing
- Increased economic stability amongst “baby boomers” – the baby boomer generation is much more prosperous overall than past generations have been. This allows greater financial freedom to divorce while still maintaining a relatively stable standard of living, even in retirement.
- Greater focus on self-growth, development and care – older Americans are placing more emphasis on their own personal development, independence and fulfillment at this time than in the past. This can lead to the realization that a marriage has become stagnant, or that two spouses simply have conflicting priorities when it comes to personal growth.
Are you thinking about divorce?
Making the decision to divorce is rarely easy. It can be even more difficult once you’ve spent a lifetime with another person. One prevailing question is at the root of many gray divorces, however. Are you going to be happy spending your twilight years with your spouse?
If the answer to that question is “no,” then maybe a divorce is in your future. Working with an experienced and skilled divorce attorney is of the utmost importance when you have 30, 40 years or more of commingled assets, retirement funds, pensions, life insurance policies, household goods and more to consider. If you’re considering divorce – at any age – reach out to a local family law attorney for compassionate and knowledgeable advice.