“Gray divorce” – why the increase in divorces after 50?

In the past 25 years, the divorce rate for people above fifty has doubled while the number of divorces for those above sixty-five has tripled. Those under fifty are still more likely to divorce, but some segments in that group are actually seeing a decrease in their divorce rate.

So why the increase for those in the “gray divorce” category? The Pew Research Group outlines and evaluates some of the reasons and statistics.

In part, Pew cites one of the reasons for the increase in gray divorces is that the baby boomers are an aging group. They had high divorce rates before age fifty and now many are remarried. Pew cites remarriages as being less stable than first marriages.

In addition, there are a significant number of divorces that occur for couples who have been in long-term marriages who are now filing after 30+ years of marriage. Among this group, the reasons cited for seeking divorce included general dissatisfaction and seeking independence to pursue their own interests. In addition, those in long-term marriages may feel less stigma about divorce now than they would have even a decade ago.

The article notes some issues which are common in a gray divorce. In particular, women, more often than men, tend to be less financially secure. This is often due to staying home to raise the children and forgoing career and income opportunities.

In a gray divorce, the main issues commonly addressed by family law attorneys are therefore spousal maintenance, property division, retirement assets, business valuations, property valuations, stock options – among many others. The issues become more complicated the longer couples are married, especially if one of the parties stayed home.

The gray divorce can involve complicated issues and the statistics demonstrate a clear increase in these cases. If you are contemplating divorce and you are fifty or older, it is important to get experienced family law counsel so that you can properly protect yourself and your future.