The divorce rate is fairly flat for the first time in decades, indicating couples are staying together longer. However, one age bracket for which divorce is climbing is those approaching retirement age.
Gray divorce refers to couples over 50 who are deciding to separate and divorce, and this is occurring at twice the rate that it did three decades ago, with 1 in 4 people divorcing in the U.S. in this age group. What are some of the most common reasons for this phenomenon?
A couple may have lost that spark years ago, but the complications of family life along with a busy calendar may have made it easy to ignore. Now, however, with less time tied up by others, some spouses decide that they want more out of life. Unfortunately, this may mean proceeding solo or finding another partner who provides what is currently lacking in the marriage.
One aspect that may drive gray divorce is the financial security of both parties. Decades ago, women, in particular, did not have the financial independence they do now simply because they did not work outside the home much. As women have remained in the workforce longer, their financial stability has increased. Thus, there is less fear about a divorce leaving them destitute.
Once upon a time, divorce carried with it a negative stigma, especially among those approaching retirement. Many would quickly assume an affair or mid-life crisis as the reason for the uncoupling. However, that evolved, and the need to stay married for appearances has plummeted.
Getting a divorce at any age takes a toll. Ensuring that this is the path to proceed down and finding a support network may lead to a quicker recovery after it becomes final.