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Why is gray divorce rising despite lower divorce rates?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2021 | Divorce |

In general, divorce rates have been on the decline in America for quite a few years. There is an exception, though — baby boomers. The divorce rate for men and women over the age of 50 has actually doubled over the past two decades and does not appear to be slowing down. So what factors are driving this rise in gray divorce? 

Perhaps one of the biggest factors is that there is simply less of a stigma attached to divorce. In the past, married couples often looked at divorce as an indication of failure. Now, most people in Minnesota understand that relationships sometimes just do not work out, and that it is better to move on. 

People are living longer 

With longer life expectancies comes longer marriages. However, when your marriage is not a happy one, thinking about spending another 10, 15 or even 20 years in the same relationship can be disheartening. This has a lot of people rethinking their marriage once they reach retirement. 

Another reason is that some people simply put off divorce when they were younger, often for the sake of their children. Sticking things out for the kids is not as effective a strategy as some might think, though. Many parents are surprised when their adult children express relief that they are finally moving forward with a divorce. 

Women are more prepared financially 

Divorce can be financially destabilizing, especially for women. It is no secret that women typically face more financial hurdles than men. Challenges that women typically face include: 

  • Earning less than their male coworkers 
  • Having less retirement savings 
  • Living longer with fewer financial resources 

Women who gave up their careers or stuck to low-paying positions in order to better support their husband’s career paths may feel like they have no way out of their marriages. The reality is that these women have many options at their disposal, including spousal support and Social Security benefits based on their ex’s work histories. Postnuptial agreements that clearly stipulate how marital property will be divided can also be key to a more secure financial future. 

Growing dissatisfaction 

Retirement is often depicted as the perfect opportunity for couples to get out of the house and engage in all the fun activities they never had time for before. Reality is often much different. Couples frequently spend increasing amounts of time at home with one another, which coupled with loss of things like separate routines and personal time can create a sense of growing dissatisfaction with one another. 

Although experts may like to bring up alarming statistics about the divorce rate, no one should be forced to stay in an unhappy marriage. Gray divorce gives couples in or near retirement the opportunity to create the best possible life for themselves as they enjoy their final years. Securing an agreeable divorce settlement is often key to this though, which is why people seek out knowledgeable guidance through this process.