It can be difficult for people to understand why a married couple who has been married for 20, 30 or even 40 years has chosen to divorce. One reason it can be hard to comprehend this decision is because it was once a relatively rare occurrence for older Americans to make. However, the flood gates of gray divorce have been knocked down in recent years. Since 1990, the divorce rate for couples over 50 have doubled.
Many people assume that gray divorce is spurred on by one person in the marriage who is going through a mid-life crisis. It can also be assumed that the decision to divorce has been a long-held desire that can finally come to fruition in later life. However, even though these scenarios can play a part in gray divorce, they are not the only reason why older Americans choose to divorce. Here are some potentially surprising facts you should know about gray divorce.
Those over 50 who have been through a divorce at least once previously, may be inclined to divorce again. This may be due to the familiarity of the process and that they know how to re-establish themselves once single. For those who have been married only once and may not know a life without a spouse, may be very apprehensive of such a life disruption.
Finances may keep couples together
With marriage comes the availability of a home with two incomes. This financial security can help older couples stay together. Studies have shown that those over 50 who divorce are more likely to be without a college education or are unemployed. With financial stability, an older couple can have options to maintain a healthy independent life while still staying in a marriage that otherwise may be failing.
Gray divorce may not be as impulsive as it may look
Couples of who have been together for such a long period of time may be viewed as having a happy and thriving marriage. The reality however is that the seeds of a gray divorce may have been sown many years prior. Issues that were easily dismissed or not addressed previously because of career aspirations, raising kids and hectic schedules, can come to the forefront when life quiets down and both are alone with each other more.
The children will still struggle with the divorce
It is common for couples to stay together to remain an integral part of their children’s lives until the children reach adulthood. But if you believe that waiting to divorce will be easier on the kids since they will be more mature, studies have shown that is not the case. Children may have anxiety on top of their sadness as they worry how each parent will adjust to life being single. Children may also believe it is their duty to help a parent who is suddenly thrust into a life alone which may disrupt their own plans of starting a family.
Sadness can remain even after gray divorce is finalized
Couples over the age of 50 who have been married a long time have a lot of equity built up around each other’s lives. Though they routinely believe that getting divorced was the right thing for them to do, memories and special times together will most likely linger and will always be held dearly. Divorce will not erase the significant part of a life that was lived.
If you are considering divorce as an older couple, there can be several reasons why you have chosen to take this path during this time in your life. No matter the reason, gray divorce can be complicated due to property division and even possible alimony payments. Before embarking on this journey through divorce, speak with an attorney as soon as you can who can answer all the important questions you may have.