What is a gray divorce? It refers to the divorce rate of couples aged 50 or older. As of 2016, the U.S. divorce rate has dropped to 21% for people ages 25 to 39. As for the gray generation, led by baby boomers, the divorce numbers are increasing.
In fact, for couples aged 50 or older, the divorce rate has doubled. The baby boomer generation, who range from ages 51 to 69, have contributed high levels of divorce since they were young. That trend has continued and thus increased the gray divorce rate.
5 factors that can lead to a gray divorce
- Financial management: Finances can be tricky, especially when they’re mismanaged due to poor budgeting or not met due to unemployment. Couples who struggle with debt or job security often end up divorced.
- Growing apart: Whether the true reason or not, “we just grew apart” is a phrase you often hear when asking a couple why they split up. This really is the case is some circumstances, especially with older couples. When couples are together for a long time, sometimes they just lose the spark.
- Cheating on their spouse: Infidelity is a major reason for gray divorce. Many current dating websites encourage infidelity by creating opportunities for married people to hook up with a temporary sexual partner. According to Forbes, baby boomers tend to be individualists who place their needs and happiness ahead of others. This trait can lead to infidelity.
- Most are healthier and living longer: Life expectancy has continually increased for many years. Access to great health care and people’s focus on eating smarter and taking care of their body has had a positive impact on reducing mortality rates. This has attributed to a more confident and secure older generation that feels they can still find happiness and excitement as they age.
- Addictions: Addictions can be debilitating for those afflicted and their spouse. Addictions can include alcohol, drugs and gambling, to name a few.
If you are contemplating a divorce, especially in the “gray” years, make sure your mind in fully made up. While older couples don’t have to worry about child custody issues throughout their divorce proceedings, it is likely that you will have more assets to divide up, which can lead to a long and tenuous process.