Gray divorce, meaning between couples over 50 years old, is becoming more prevalent as baby boomers continue to pass this milestone.
When older people divorce, specific concerns include the dramatic shift in retirement income resulting from property division. Whereas past generations might decide to ride it out, the present population of aging Americans seems to be more willing to make this drastic change in their lives. This could be attributable to several different factors.
People are living much longer, thanks to medical advances. “Until death do us part” is a bigger commitment now than it used to be, and given that, many couples are not willing to remain in an unhappy marriage that could last 70 years or more.
While it is not uncommon for people to stay married for the sake of their children, by the time a couple is in their 50s, their children are likely adults, often with kids of their own. At that point, ending the marriage may not have as serious an impact on their children.
When couples retire, particularly with an empty nest, they may find that without work or children to focus on, there is not enough common ground between them to sustain their marriage. They may also discover their retirement goals and interests are incompatible, for example, traveling versus staying close to home.
As the stigma once associated with divorce continues to fade, couples may find it easier to make the decision. Also, by middle age, many are already in a second or even third marriage. Statistics suggest that people with multiple marriages are more likely to divorce, even at an advanced age.