When people who are over 50 get divorced, it is often referred to as gray divorce. This is simply shorthand for divorce involving members of a specific age group, generally including those between 50 and 70.
Interestingly, this age group has generated some attention lately because its divorce rate is going up. This is not true with couples who are in their 20s or 30s. Their divorce rates have been declining. So why is gray divorce going in the opposite direction?
One potential reason that some experts have considered is that people are living longer than they used to. They want to have an authentic life and they feel that they have a lot left to experience. In some cases, this means that someone may want to get divorced so that they can pursue those final years in exactly the ways that they want.
When asked about their divorces, some individuals said that they had been unhappy in their marriages for quite some time. One important factor to remember is that perspectives and stigmas about divorce have changed. Someone may have wanted to get divorced 20 years ago but felt uncomfortable doing it, but they may feel like they actually have that option today.
A third potential reason for the rise in this divorce rate is that when individuals reach this age group, this is the point at which a lot of parents become empty-nesters. This stage in life can create two reasons for divorce. The first is that a couple may have already wanted to get divorced, but they were just staying together for the kids until high school graduation. Another reason is that a couple didn’t realize the issues in their own relationship because they were so consumed with the challenges of parenting. But becoming empty-nesters removes that distraction, and they have time to re-analyze where their own relationship stands.
Working through the process
Regardless of the reason for the divorce, a gray divorce process can be very complicated. It’s quite important for those who are working through this process to know what legal steps to take to safeguard their rights and interests, especially when it comes to financial issues and asset division. Seeking legal guidance proactively can be very helpful in this regard.