One of the most significant shifts in divorce rates in the past two decades has been an increase in grey divorces. Grey divorces are later-life divorces that involve longer-lasting marriages. This demographic can include those couples whose children have left home and extends to those couples who have retired or reached that age.
What is contributing to this trend?
Each divorce is unique, but there are some common themes:
- Longer lifespans: The most apparent cause for grey divorces, it seems, is longer life expectancy – and higher life quality – for older couples. The psychology of having more years to look forward to is encouraging for older people who feel they’ve grown apart from their partner.
- Accessibility of affairs: With the number of dating apps available, affairs and infidelity are easier to navigate for those people who are interested in finding partners outside of their marriage.
- Changes in social pressure: The stigma around infidelity, prevalent amongst older generations, has significantly lessened.
The challenges of a later divorce
There are several logistical challenges unique to a grey divorce. Here are three complications usually seen:
- Property and asset division: The splitting of retirement funds and pensions can be a contentious issue, especially if one partner earned more over their career than the other.
- Health insurance and life insurance: The health plan that one partner may have gotten through the other partner, or through that other partner’s job, will likely be removed once they finalize the divorce. Ex-spouses also are taken off life insurance policies.
- Larger families: Couples seeking a divorce at a later age not only have to deal with their children’s reaction to their decision to split up, but they may have to be accountable to their grandchildren and other family members invested in their relationship.
Thinking about the future
For many couples, the decision to pursue a divorce is not one that occurs suddenly or without thought. A divorce is often the result of years of tension, disagreement and dissatisfaction over a couple’s relationship. It is wise for those considering divorce to speak with an attorney who specializes in grey divorces and its unique challenges. Clients have the rest of their life to be happy. Do not let an incompatible partner decide how that life turns out.