How common are gray divorces?

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How common are gray divorces?

When people get divorced in their 50s or 60s — or later — that is referred to as a gray divorce. This simply means you’re at an older age than the “traditional” couple that gets divorced. 

This distinction may seem arbitrary, but it is important because these later-in-life divorces do not have all of the same issues as more traditional divorces. For a couple in their 30s, for instance, child custody and child support are probably the biggest points of contention. For you, with children who are already grown up and in college or living on their own, you don’t have to worry about these things. You’re probably more focused on assets and retirement funds. 

Gray divorce is becoming more common

Gray divorce is less common than divorce at a younger age. Many times, when couples have major issues with compatibility, they know right away. They don’t wait to get divorced and start lives on their own. 

That being said, if you look at the gray divorce rate in the 1990s and the rate today, it has doubled. Part of the reason is that it was so uncommon in the 90s, only impacting about 5 out of every 1,000 couples. It does not take much to double such a small rate. 

However, this also shows that older couples are more accepting of divorce today and more likely to split up than they were in the past. If this trend continues, we may even stop thinking of it as a rare event. 

Keep your focus on what’s important

As noted, your focus during the divorce is likely on the financial aspects of the split. Be sure you understand all of your legal options. 

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