Overall, divorce rates have been dropping during the past few years. However, one demographic shows a marked increase in divorce, and that is among couples over the age of 50. In fact, over 25% of divorcing couples are in their 50s, and more than half of them have been married at least 20 years.
Startling as these statistics may sound, there are some valid reasons why older couples are choosing to end their marriages. If not handled skillfully, these so-called “gray divorces” may place some spouses at risk of financial struggles. Nevertheless, many older spouses say they are ready to break free and find self-fulfillment beyond their marriages.
Marriage no longer satisfies
For generations, marriage has been the mark of stability and security, both personally and financially. This is no longer the case, especially for women. At one time, women relied on their husbands as a source of income and financial security, but more and more women now have their own careers and make their own money. For this reason, divorce, even after age 50, is not as scary as it used to be.
Improved health care and longer life expectancy mean that after retirement, individuals may have many healthy years ahead of them. When the children are grown and gone from the home, spouses realize they no longer have the same bond. They often do not want to spend those golden years in an unfulfilling marriage.
Don’t be hasty
A gray divorce can be risky. It is not something to jump into without exploring every option and understanding the potential disadvantages. Those considering divorce who are in their 50s or already past retirement age would be wise to seek sound legal advice before taking steps to end their marriages.