“Grey divorce” becoming more common across the country
In the past, people in their 50s, 60s or 70s were seeing an attorney to create a will or other estate plan. Now, a growing number of people in this age group are seeking an attorney because they want to get a divorce after decades of marriage. According to a Bowling Green State University Study, divorce among those aged 46 to 64 has increased by more than 50 percent in the past two years and this has greatly contributed to the divorce rate in the country.
Divorce stabilizing among other age groups
The Bowling Green study showed that divorce rates in the country are slowly going down, but the 46 to 64 age group is the only group whose divorce rates are increasing. In 1990 only one in ten people aged 50 and older got divorced, compared to one in four in 2009. The likelihood of divorce among second and third marriages in that age group is even higher, reaching 150 percent.
Reasons for divorce similar to other age groups
Many people age 50 and older are leaving their marriages because they are unfulfilled. Many in the age group feel that after the kids are gone or when nearing retirement they are not happy with their spouses as additional time reveals changed preferences and approaches to life. Divorce has become a more viable option for these people than it was in the past because it is more common for both spouses to be financially independent. People today are also living longer and therefore feel they can have a new beginning at an older age.
Attorneys and counselors have also seen older adults divorcing for similar reasons as younger couples. Many older couples experience infidelity; financial problems, addictions or mental health issues that cause the breakdown of marriage.
Most divorces initiated by women
In a survey by the American Association for Retired Persons over half of divorces experienced by couples aged 40 to 69 were initiated by women. Women have more options now than they did in the past. Some even say online dating plays a factor in their consideration to divorce.
There are other groups within the over 50 age group that experience variations in divorce rates. For example, unemployed persons over the age of 50 have the highest divorce rates and retired people have the lowest. African-Americans over the age of 50 also experience higher divorce rates than other races.
Those over 50 seeking a divorce should consider contacting an experienced family law attorney to help them through the process. An attorney can help an older divorcing spouse address divorce issues particular to his or her unique situation.