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Gray divorce rates have increased rapidly in recent years

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce may occur due to incompatibility or misconduct. People who expect to have happy marriages sometimes learn that their spouses are not who they thought they were. Other times, issues with financial misconduct are what put external pressure on a marital relationship.

People often expect that divorce might occur shortly after spouses get married. Those with bad habits they hid during courtship, for example, can’t misrepresent their true intentions indefinitely. Divorce may occur when the truth surfaces. However, statistics about modern divorces show that it is actually those who have remained married for decades who may have the highest degree of divorce risk in modern society. Gray divorces or the end of long-term marriages between people near or past retirement age, have become far more common in recent decades.

What does divorce data show?

Statistics about divorce trends paint an alarming picture of the status of certain families in the United States. Specifically, they show that older couples who have remained married successfully for years are now at greater risk of divorce than younger couples.

Although divorce rates for the general population have dropped in recent years, divorce rates among older adults have increased. The rates of divorce among those over 50 have doubled since 1990, and the divorce rate for those over 65 has roughly tripled during the same time. Not only do couples have a higher level of risk of divorce as they age, but they may face more complicated divorce proceedings.

What makes gray divorces different

The same general laws apply to divorce regardless of how long a marriage has lasted. However, the duration of the marriage can affect the outcome of property division matters and support requests. Spouses may also have more property to divide if they divorce after decades of marriage. It may be harder for people to rebuild financially after a divorce later in life, as they have fewer prime earning years left. Additionally, there can often be social fallout for gray divorces, as family members and communities have become accustomed to seeing the couple as a unit.

Understanding current divorce trends may help older people who believe they are likely to pursue a divorce in the near future. While gray divorces are difficult, they can lead to a happy future if people approach them with the right perspective and support.