Trends in Gray Divorce
I’ve written before about how rates of divorce among couples age 50 and older are on the rise, and in fact they are continuing to increase!
Even as divorce rates across America are on the decline generally, this category of Gray Divorce, which is a specialty of our firm, is exploding.
It used to be that once you married and stayed with someone over several decades, it felt like you had to stick it out for the duration of your life. Not so anymore. It is becoming acceptable to divorce at any age, and people of advanced ages are finding that they have a lot of life left to live – and they want to do it the way they want it now.
The kids are grown. The parents are still young enough to do things, to travel, to have a new chapter to their lives, and so they are choosing to do so solo, if their partner is not at the same place of realization.
Even more so, in couples where one spouse battles mental illness, or even a physical illness, the going can get even tougher later in life. And, for couples who have endured an unhappy marriage, there may be a sense of obligation to take care of the ailing partner, but there may also be resentment for the idea of caring for someone who never really cared for them when they were in good health.
At Transitions Legal, we do not judge the reasons that a client comes to us wanting a divorce. We welcome them in and look at their case and if it is a fit for our practice, we take it on, without judgment. Our purpose is to support our clients to the fullest extent of our ability and help them transition from one stage of life to the next with ease and grace.
This trend of increasing cases in the Gray Divorce niche makes me wonder about how we look at marriage in America.
After a certain point, should we just stay together, even if the marriage has been disappointing, or lonely? Should we stay together despite bad behavior? Why do we put up with unhealthy situations?
Does the definition of marriage paralyze us from living meaningful and healthy lives? Even illness is not an excuse to stay and be treated poorly.
Later in life, it can be even harder for a person to make the decision to leave a marriage. They often take more time than younger people, but they may feel more secure in doing so because they have already been living on a retirement income and may feel confident about their financial future and dividing everything 50/50.
They often feel guilt for leaving after so many years. They wonder what their children will think, or how the split will affect their family.
It can be as contentious and complicated later in life as it is early on. There is really no easy time to end a marriage, but if you’ve decided it’s the right thing to do, the only way to go is forward.