Grey divorce – defined as divorcing in your 50s or later – is on the rise. The divorce rate for U.S. adults over age 50 has nearly doubled since the 1990s, and roughly tripled for U.S. adults over age 65 during the same period.
The spike in “grey divorce” has been attributed to several factors, among them:
Longer life span (and therefore, a longer marriage)
Retirement is no longer considered the sunset of a person’s life. People are living decades longer than the generation before, which makes retirement an opportunity for a second act. This process of reinvention often causes people to take a long, hard look at their relationships.
A traditionally high divorce rate among the baby boomer generation
When it comes to divorce, Baby Boomers have traditionally led the charge. The U.S. divorce rate per capita increased sharply in the late 60s and 1970s, and peaked in 1981 with 5.3 divorces per 1,000 people. Now that Boomers are on their second (and third) marriages, generational divorce trends are coming back full circle.
Increasing number of remarriages
Remarriages are statistically more unstable than first marriages. According to Pew Research, “The divorce rate for adults ages 50 and older in remarriages is double the rate of those who have only been married once (16 versus eight per 1,000 married persons, respectively). Among all adults 50 and older who divorced in 2015, 48 percent had been in their second or higher marriage.”
The rise of dual income households and financial independence among women
Women are more educated and career-oriented than ever before. Over 48 percent of married couples in the U.S. lived in a dual income household in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. As more women take on a breadwinning role, they begin to feel less financially trapped in their circumstances.
Evolving religious and social attitudes toward divorce
Divorce simply does not carry the stigma it used to have. Members of a person’s family and other important social circles are more willing to accept the decision to divorce, and even play a supportive role throughout the process.
Increased options for finding a new partner in the digital age
“Living a full life” can have different meanings for different people. When a couple grows apart and begins to feel lonely or unfulfilled, it is tempting to see who else is out there. Finding a person with shared interests is easy to do on the countless websites and dating apps available in the digital age.
Is Grey Divorce Right for You?
Every relationship is different. When considering a divorce, the physical and emotional health of you and your children should always come first.
Splitting up if you are approaching – or in the middle of – retirement carries its own financial considerations. Living alone will significantly change your cash flow and dividing marital assets (and debt) will likely affect your estate plan. It will change your existing social life as you know it, for better or worse.
A New Jersey family lawyer can help you explore your options and consider all facts before making this major life change.
Find a New Jersey or New York Divorce Lawyer
If you are considering a divorce later in life, the family law attorneys at Arons & Solomon can help. We understand that “grey divorces” have their own range of complex issues to consider, from dividing a lifetime of marital assets, to protecting a dependent spouse in retirement, to preserving the inheritance of children from previous marriages.
We use mediation and collaborative approaches when possible to minimize the conflict and heartache associated with divorce. All clients leave our office with stability and a plan to move forward. Contact us today for a free consultation.