Most people probably think it is unlikely that many couples would divorce after decades of marriage. In reality, this phenomenon of so-called “gray divorces” is a growing trend. Specifically, women over age 50 are more frequently initiating divorces.
According to data from the National Center for Family and Marriage, baby boomer couples now represent one out of every four divorces. This is up significantly since 1990, when baby boomers were only involved in one out of 10 divorces. Such divorces later in life are more likely to be initiated by women. According to a survey by AARP, in marriages among seniors women initiate 66 percent of the divorces.
There are probably a variety of factors behind these trends. Once spouses retire and their children have left the nest couples often spend more time at home together. This may cause differences to be magnified and tensions between the couple to grow. People are also living longer, and may not want to continue to devote time and effort to an unsatisfying relationship.
Women in particular are much more active as they age, and may find they no longer feel fulfilled in a marriage where they have grown apart from their partner for many years. Increased financial independence may also make women feel like they have more options available to them.
Regardless of the reasons behind these divorces, a number of issues need to be sorted out when spouses, whose lives have been entwined for decades, decide to separate. Examples of issues that experienced attorneys can assist with include the division of property, allocation of retirement assets and changes to estate plans.
Source: The Palm Beach Post, After age 50, women are divorcing at double the rate of 20 years ago, Barbara Marshall, 7 February 2012