Back around 2014, reports showed that gray divorce rates had doubled. This was a bit of a surprise, as this age group – those who are 50 years old and older – has typically been more opposed to divorce. Additionally, divorce rates for the rest of the country and the rest of the age groups were dropping.
When researchers checked again in 2021, they found that over a third of all divorce cases were gray divorce. The rates were still rising. It was not a fluke, and older couples were splitting up more often despite the complete opposite trend for everyone else. Why was this happening, and why is it still happening today?
Creating their own lives
One potential reason is simply that people are living longer. If someone is 50 years old, they may still have 20 or 30 years to consider. If they believe that they want something else out of life or to be more authentic to their own dreams and desires, that may mean getting divorced.
Becoming empty nesters
Similarly, this is around the age when most parents will see their children move entirely out of the house. They’ll become empty nesters. This may make them feel more free to live the life they want, letting them seek a divorce. Or they may realize that their relationship had been faltering the whole time. They just didn’t notice because they were so focused on being parents. But now that the kids aren’t around all the time, the issues in the relationship become more clear.
Changing the stigma
Finally, the general cultural stigma around divorce has just changed. There was a time when it was frowned upon and very difficult to obtain a divorce. Modern couples don’t look at it in the same negative light and it is not nearly as difficult as it once was. As this stigma has shifted, some couples may have decided to get divorced when they actually wanted to do so years or decades ago.
Exploring your options
If you’re in this age group and you feel that you may be moving toward a divorce, there are a lot of legal steps you need to take and you must consider all of the options that you have.