Divorce is changing. Specifically, divorce is becoming less common among young people and much more common among seniors. Gray divorces — those involving spouses 50 years of age and older — have doubled since the 1990s. (That’s nothing compared to the divorce rate among those 65 years of age and older, however, which has tripled.)
If you’re a senior who is contemplating divorce, here are some facts you may want to know:
Remarriage may be driving the surge in senior divorces
A lot of today’s seniors already went through divorces when they were younger, and have since remarried. But, second and third marriages tend to be less stable than first marriages, and researchers speculate that’s one of the causes behind gray divorces.
The stigma against divorce has also been lowered
Another factor that may be causing gray divorces to rise is the change in social attitudes toward divorce. Many older couples may have stayed together simply because they equated the end of a marriage with failure. Since that attitude has faded, some seniors are now ready to move on.
Recovery from divorce can be harder when you’re a senior
Gray divorces can bring financial difficulties. It’s much harder to divide up a lifetime of accumulated assets and debts than it is to divide a few years’ worth. Plus, seniors may have a harder time recovering from the expense of a divorce and the loss of shared income with their spouse — and less time to build up a pension plan or pay off debt before retirement.
When you’re 50 years of age or older, you may simply have different reasons for seeking a divorce than your younger counterparts — and vastly different primary concerns. Look for representation that has experience with your issues in order to best protect your legal rights.