Over recent years, studies have found that older couples are starting to get divorced at a higher rate. In fact, most young people have a declining divorce rate in the United States, despite the common misconception that 50% of marriages end in divorce. But gray divorce, which involves those who are 50 years old and older, is becoming more and more common. This rate is increasing.
There’s clearly a divide between older and younger Americans. What is it that is causing older couples to split up at a higher rate when the exact opposite is happening to everyone else? These are a few common reasons why gray divorces may be on the rise.
Changing views on marriage
One thing to consider is that many older couples may have had different views on marriage when they got married. Divorce was considered to be more taboo, and it was less common. There are some couples who may have wanted to get divorced even decades ago, but these social taboos may have dissuaded them.
Not only do young people not view divorce the same way, but they also don’t view marriage the same way. They are getting married later and cohabitating more often. This could lead to a decrease in divorce rates because a couple that breaks up without getting married doesn’t count as a divorce and because those who get married young don’t feel like they have to stay trapped in a marriage that they would like to leave.
Major changes in their lives
It’s also worth considering that couples in this age group may be experiencing major life changes. One of the biggest ones involves sending children to college and suddenly becoming empty-nesters. When the children were in the home, they may have provided enough of a distraction that the couple didn’t worry about their own relational issues and may not have even realized that they were drifting apart. But those issues may have become much bigger once they began living alone, and they realized that their own relationship had changed over time.
Are you in this age group and considering a divorce? It can be complicated, especially when considering things like retirement and the division of assets. Make sure you know exactly what legal steps to take by seeking legal guidance as proactively as possible.