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Gray Divorce

It’s clear that divorce is not what it used to be. Once a rare and shocking occurrence, divorce is so commonplace now that there are over 18 million results for a Google search for “cheap easy divorce.” This is even truer for couples over 50. The new trend of divorce after age 50 is called “gray divorce” and it’s becoming more and more popular. Just 20 years ago, less than 10% of older couples got divorced, but now 25% of all divorces are from this age group. Why is this an increasing trend?

Divorce is Socially Acceptable

It could be that divorce is simply more commonplace and couples that previously would have been expected to stay in an unhappy marriage no longer feel social pressure to do so. Cultural values have shifted and it is now socially acceptable to be a divorcee and to live independently or remarry later in life.

Longer Lives

Medical technology has improved in leaps and bounds and people are living longer than before. Many couples are now reassessing their situations at turning points later in life such as an empty-nest and retirement. One may be expected to live another 20 years after retirement, and that’s an awfully long time to live with someone you don’t like. Those facing this situation are choosing to get divorced, rather than simply moving to another bedroom.

Increase in Financial Independence

With the rise of career women, there has also been an increase in financial independence. Since women initiate about 2/3 of divorce proceedings, these older women are feeling more financially stable and able to handle a divorce or separation. However, many times women are unprepared for the real financial strains of living separate. A divorce attorney is an instrumental part of ensuring that the financial situation of either party will be sufficient for life after divorce.

Still, Consequences

Although this is a relatively new trend and there is little research on the long-term effects, there are some things that can be concluded. Couples that are divorcing later are facing serious financial issues. Either party could be forced out of retirement in order to make ends meet, and the job market can be difficult for older individuals. Social Security and Medicare benefits will change for both parties.

Many gray divorces result in second marriages. However, statistics show that these remarriages have a greater risk at ending due to relationship challenges. Not only are there problems with the structure of a blended family, but also these individuals have already previously demonstrated their willingness to get divorced.

The complexities of divorce are daunting, and especially so for longer marriages with more joint assets and property. It is highly important that you speak with a divorce attorney before beginning divorce proceedings. An attorney will have your best interests at heart and be able to help you navigate through the difficult process of divorce.