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A growing number of older couples are getting a ‘gray divorce’

On Behalf of | Sep 26, 2023 | Firm News |

Virginia couples who are either considering a divorce or have already started the process are far from alone. Recent trends have shown that a rising number of people are ending their marriage. Some age groups have been heavily represented in this increase. Specifically, those categorized as Baby Boomers are featured prominently.

These cases – also referred to as a gray divorce – occur for many reasons. For people who were born from 1946 to 1964, there are unique concerns with ending a marriage and moving on. It is wise to know what people in this age range might face financially, professionally and personally.

Study shows spike in gray divorce

Researchers from Bowling Green University say that in the three decades from 1990 to 2021, the number of people 65 and older who got divorced tripled. Overall, those 45 and older were getting divorced more frequently. Those under 45 were getting divorced less.

In the past, people ignored problems in their marriage and stayed together. However, by 2010, more than one-quarter of divorces involved people at least 50-years-old. It increased to 36% by 2019. For some, they had been married for a long time. Others were relatively new marriages.

Researchers believe that the stigma of divorce has decreased and people who are unhappy are feeling greater freedom to explore their options. Another factor is the number of women who are in the workforce and can support themselves financially.

There are myriad reasons for the rising divorce rate. Abuse, unfaithfulness, addiction, how to raise children and the growing connectivity with people outside the marriage are contributory factors. As people age, they might have gotten used to a routine. That could be upended by one spouse’s retirement, spending more time together and the realization that one or both are unsatisfied.

People have specific obstacles in a gray divorce

Regardless of age and how long a couple was married there are common denominators in divorce that people need to consider. That includes finances, property, living arrangements and support.

These can be exacerbated in a gray divorce where the person who did not earn as much or was a stay at home spouse could have trouble making ends meet and is reluctant to consider divorce out of fear of the unknown. With any family law matter, it is important to be prepared. That could mean negotiating or going to court to address the lingering issues. A full grasp of all possible challenges can be critical to achieving an acceptable outcome.

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