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Gray divorce is on the rise

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Divorce |

When people in an older age bracket get divorced, it’s often called gray divorce. This is defined in different ways, depending on the study you use. Some say that it applies to those who are 50 and older, while others claim that it applies to those who are 65 and older. 

Either way, a trend is emerging: These gray divorces are happening more often. Younger couples are getting divorced at a lower rate, despite often being married for much less time. But many of these older couples are getting divorced after decades. Why is this happening?

Reduced stigma

One reason is that there used to be a negative stigma regarding divorce, and that has largely disappeared. An older couple may have wanted to get divorced 30 years ago but felt uncomfortable doing so. In 2024, they finally feel like they can make the decision that they wanted all along.

Empty nest syndrome

Another potential reason is the empty nest syndrome that happens when children move out of the house. Often, couples will have been experiencing conflict or drifting apart even while the children still lived at home. It’s just that the children provided a significant distraction, so they didn’t notice until they became empty nesters.

Financial troubles

Finally, many of these couples are nearing retirement age. They may find that they have different plans for the future or that their financial picture isn’t where they wanted it to be at retirement. There could be conflicts over money or whether or not one spouse should keep working. 

From a financial perspective, gray divorce is often very complex. Those going through the process need to know exactly what legal steps to take.