The Rise of Gray Divorce in America
Thanks to technological advances in modern medicine and healthier lifestyles, Americans continue to live longer lives. Most recent government numbers show the life expectancy in the U.S. has reached a record high 78.8 years, albeit slightly higher for women and slightly lower for men. Adults in this country have more years than ever to pursue interests, enjoy their passions, maintain friendships, and fall in love. Sometimes, however, adults lose certain interests, passions wane, and friendships drift apart. Falling out of love, so to speak, can happen as well and when it does, older Americans find themselves facing divorce at an unprecedented rate.
Divorce for individuals over age 50 is often referred to as “gray divorce,” and as a recent study out of Bowling Green University suggests, gray divorce has almost tripled in the last quarter century. In a 2011 survey of adults who divorced in the previous year, nearly 30 percent were 50 or older. By contrast, in 1990, only one in ten was 50 or older when they divorced.
The lead researchers of the Bowling Green study, expressed concern that older Americans divorcing at higher rate may have an impact on more than just the couple. The financial toll of divorce or related health issues can have implications for some couple’s children. Others may be forced to turn to government programs, community outreach centers, or other avenues of aid after divorce.
To explain the higher divorce rate, some experts point to fact that many older Americans are in their second or third marriages, statistically more likely to end in divorce. There is also the consideration that with high life expectancy comes the desire for a longer life to remain fulfilling and to be enjoyed. As American adults now have significantly more years to live after traditional retirement age than previous generations, staying in an unhappy marriage can be more challenging than ever.
While no divorce is easy, gray divorce can be especially complex, as the years spent building a life together can contribute to more complicated negotiations related to retirement investments, spousal maintenance, and other considerations. If you are over age 50 and are considering divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney in Kane County today. Let our team help you ensure the security of your post-divorce future.