While those in their fifties, sixties, and seventies lack a certain level of familiarity with modern terminology, their growing number of marital dissolutions – also known as grey divorces – are trending. Late-in-life splits continue to increase. Those fifty and older now account for a quarter of all divorces. Those 65 and older, with many enjoying retirements, represent one in ten dissolutions.
Overcoming obstacles and misconceptions
This segment of the population likely grew up in an era where divorce carried a certain stigma, regardless of how long they were married. Even as couples grew apart emotionally, they physically stayed together. The most likely reason was to maintain stability for their children.
Advances in medicine resulted in people living longer and more active lives. Suddenly, being stuck in a multi-decade marriage was no longer something that they could tolerate. Looking at a future with potentially decades to live forced them to reassess their lives. Without that all-important “spark,” they decided to “upset the apple cart” once and for all and begin a new phase in their lives.
Grey divorce is an outlier and not the typical type of marital dissolution. Usually, they are close to, starting, or enjoying retirement. Children are grown, out of the house, and living their own lives. Complexities exist in dividing assets due to the longer union, not to mention past stereotypes regarding husbands and wives.
Grey divorces carry a potentially severe setback to retirement plans. Income decreases while alimony and property division becomes a reality. Regardless of age, the emotional impact on children can still be significant. Irrespective of the financial and personal ramifications, spouses considering ending their marriage in their “golden years” are entitled to a certain level of stability as they venture into uncharted waters.