While the major story with regards to divorce statistics in recent years is the fact that in most age segments, especially the Millennial Generation, divorce rates are on the decline (which should not be that much of a surprise given that marriage rates are also on the decline for this age group). But possibly an even more interesting and multifaceted development is the huge spike in gray divorces, or divorces for those over the age of 50, many of which can be very complex divorces due to the large variety and amounts of assets, properties, and debts amassed through the years. Here are some of the reasons for the increase in gray divorces.
5 Primary Reasons for the Increase in Gray Divorces
Over the last two decades, there have been twice as many gray divorces as there were in the past. This doubling of gray divorce rates suggests a trend. Here are some of the most common reasons that so many people over the age of 50 are getting divorced:
Less Stigma—These older generations have seen a dramatic shift in the way divorce is viewed by both society and religious organizations. Whereas in prior decades, divorce might have branded you as an outcast or someone who did not have the fortitude or fidelity to “make it work” in regards to your marriage. These days, you will probably hear someone say, “Good for them,” upon hearing of a couple’s divorce. That is because overall, everyone is much more accepting of divorce, especially due to the many negative consequences of failing marriages.
More Self-Sufficient Financial Stability—Men and women alike, and women, in particular, have seen tremendous financial and professional growth over the last several decades. This means both spouses feel more comfortable divorcing each other because the possible financial woes and self-sufficiency anxieties might be lessened by such personal economic stability and good fortune.
Increased Longevity—People are living longer, so naturally with more people alive in the twilight of their years, there are going to be more divorces. However, it is not just the fact that more people are alive in the older population to get divorces. Many spouses think about the possibility of 30 or 40 more years together and cringe at the thought of being with that same person all that time. In many cases, they realize that they want to live life on their own and not be tied down any longer.
Empty-Nesting Is Too Empty—With kids, marriage might have transformed from something romantic to something parental, meaning everything about the marriage ended up centering around the well-being of the children and nothing else. Once those kids are adults and have moved out of the house, the married couple really no longer has as much to talk about, and they realize that reigniting the flame they once had before becoming parents is near impossible.
Heightened Desire for Self-Fulfillment—Now that people are living longer and marital roles are less clearly defined, many older people seek ways to fulfill themselves outside of their marriage. And if their marriage leaves much to be desired, having been built on a narrow marital role and centered around parenting, then seeking satisfaction elsewhere is all the more likely. In other words, one’s spouse might be a hindrance to achieving fulfillment and independence.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney
Gray divorces have increased in recent years for a variety of reasons. The knowledgeable team at Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help guide you through the divorce process as you get a divorce at any age, even over the age of 50. If you find yourself in need of such a divorce, reach out to a Wheaton, IL gray divorce lawyer at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.