Divorcing Later in Life: More Common than You Might Think

“Half of all marriages end in divorce.” It’s a statistic that seems to be burned into our brains. While many of us are aware that divorce rates have increased significantly in recent decades, there is a general misconception that this surge is due to younger generations’ stronger inclination to call it quits.

It’s true that millennials are often children of divorce and therefore view divorce as more commonplace than baby boomers. However, it is actually retirement-age adults who are most likely to terminate their marriage.

And this often brings additional complexities to the divorce. As older couples usually have accumulated more assets together, during their long marriage. This will require more time and consideration to determine, especially for high assets, whereof all it will end up at the end of the divorce.

Since 1990, the divorce rate of couples between the ages of 25 and 39 has declined by 21 percent. However, during this same time period, the divorce rate of couples age 50 and over has shot up by a whopping 109 percent.

What accounts for this surprising trend? In today’s post, we examine a few reasons that divorcing in your later years-a phenomenon known as “gray divorce”-is particularly common.

· Empty nest: For couples who married young and had children shortly thereafter, much of their married lives may have been dedicated to jointly raising their kids. Once the kids are grown and out of the house, couples may struggle to find other ways to connect with each other.

· Retirement: Saying good-bye to a decades-long career marks a drastic change in routine. For the first time in their entire marriage, couples may suddenly be spending every day together. They may struggle to find fulfilling ways to occupy their time. They may avoid seeking out new hobbies independently-relying instead on their partner as their sole source of entertainment. These common responses to retirement can inject strain and frustration into the marital relationship.

· Multiple marriages: Couples over the age of 50 are most likely to have been married at least once before. Divorce rates among couples in this age group are 2.5 times higher if at least one member of the couple has been married before.

Not all divorces are created equal. Compared to divorces earlier on in life, gray divorces tend to have more complex financial issues at stake. It’s important to ensure that your complete financial situation is fairly represented during your divorce proceedings.

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