You may have heard the term “gray divorce” a lot in the news lately and wondered what it meant. “Gray divorce” is simply a term used to describe married couples who split up after age 50. You have probably heard about it more often because, according to Financial Advisor Magazine, divorce rates are rising among people in this age demographic. This is a notable contrast because divorce rates in other age demographics are either declining or leveling off.

Some of the reasons for gray divorce are similar to those among younger couples. However, older divorcing couples do have some unique considerations.

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy in the United States is increasing. It was over 80 years old for women in 2015 and only slightly lower for men. Not only are Americans living longer, but they are also living healthier lives than before. The prospect of several more decades with someone you no longer feel the same about may be a dour prospect.

Financial independence

Greater work options for women have opened up within the last few decades. Women who are no longer dependent on their husbands financially may seek to break free of a bad or unsatisfying situation. It may be telling that women initiate 80% of all divorces.

Empty nest

You and your spouse may have devoted a lot of your time and energy tending to your children and providing for their needs during the early years of your marriage. Once the children have grown and moved out, and you and/or your spouse have retired, you may suddenly find that you have more time to spend together. Now that you do not have the care of your children to bring you together, you may find that you have grown apart.

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