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One group is now more likely to divorce than ever before

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Family Law

Divorce is one of the risks that people generally have to accept when they get married. Even those who start a marriage completely committed to seeing it through might not be able to, due to factors beyond their control.

Issues with addiction, unexpected infidelity and just growing apart over the years can lead to people deciding to end a marriage. Statistically, a significant portion of marriages in the United States end in divorce. However, divorce rates have slightly declined in recent years in many different age demographics. Still, one group of married couples has seen a shocking increase in the number of divorces filed in the U.S. recently.

Gray divorce has surged in recent years

A gray divorce involves people in their 50s or later in their lives calling it quits. Usually, these marriages have involved decades of commitment and shared resources. As of 2020, the chances of those aged 55 or over divorcing had doubled when compared to divorce rates in 1990. For those over the age of 65, the risk of divorce actually tripled over the last few decades. Older adults now represent about 10% of those seeking divorce each year.

Gray divorces can be more complicated

The longer people stay married, the more difficult it can be to separate their lives when they divorce. They may own real estate together. They could have retirement accounts or pensions that they need to divide. There may be a need for financial support if one spouse gave up on their career development to care for the family and the house.

Those preparing for gray divorce need to understand the law and their rights as well as ways to rebuild after ending a marriage. They also need to prepare for social fallout, as someone’s other relationships often change when they end a long-term marriage. Financial concerns are common as well, as dividing assets while preparing to live on a fixed income is a daunting prospect.

Getting the right support early in the planning process can make a major difference for those contemplating a gray divorce. Those who divorce later in life need to approach the process cautiously to protect themselves from worst-case scenarios.