While the overall divorce rate has declined steadily over the past few decades, the number of couples over age 50 who decide to end their marriages keeps climbing. So-called gray divorces have quadrupled since 1990, according to multiple studies.
Divorce can be an emotional and devastating experience for anyone, and it can be especially challenging for couples who have spent many years together raising a family and sharing many wonderful experiences as well as attaining a certain standard of living.
What are the leading causes of gray divorce?
Getting a divorce doesn’t have the same social stigma it once had, which has no doubt contributed to the surge, but there are many reasons why older couples choose to end their marriages, such as:
- Financial management: Disputes over money are some of the most common reasons for divorce. Managing finances can be tricky, especially when one spouse controls the checkbook. Couples who constantly fight about money often decide to split.
- Growing apart: Many couples who have been together for a long time say they have lost the spark they once had, especially after their children are grown and have left the house. Others say the relationship is just “not working out.”
- Infidelity: Spouses who cheat on their partners are another leading cause of divorce for older couples. Relationship experts say baby boomers tend to be more independent than previous generations putting their needs and happiness ahead of others.
- Living longer: Life expectancy is also much higher for baby boomers than it was for their parents and grandparents, and many older people are still healthy. Many who are struggling in their relationships believe that they are not too old to find happiness with another partner.
- Addiction: Spouses who develop dependencies for drugs or other negative behaviors, such as gambling or sexual addictions also tend to put their needs ahead of others, and many refuse to get help. Those actions often spell the end for their relationship, even if their spouse has been supportive in the past.
Divorce can be a positive but challenging decision
Gray divorces create significant dilemmas for all members of a family, even if the children are adults. Dividing assets can be complicated, and many couples believe that they will need to go to court to get a fair outcome.
However, a compassionate and experienced family law attorney here in Connecticut understands how the process works. Your lawyer will look to avoid a court battle through mediation or a collaborative process, if it’s in your best interests, but will also fight for you in court if litigation is necessary.