In the past, it was the younger couples who were more likely to divorce. Couples rushed to marry at young ages and later realized their mistake. Now that couples are waiting longer to get married, we do not see this trend as much anymore.
The problem now lies on the opposite end of the age spectrum. Older couples are now divorcing at alarming rates. The divorce rate among those age 50 and older has doubled since the 1990s. What exactly is causing this surge in so-called “gray divorces” and what are the health and financial implications?
Causes of Senior Divorce
There is one main reason why gray divorces are on the rise – improved health. With the average lifespan close to 80 years old, people are living longer than ever. Some even reach their 90s, 100s, and beyond. Given this, people are less likely to settle for miserable marriages. They may have 20 or more years left of life. They want to focus on themselves and their emotional well-being.
Another cause of gray divorce is that couples often live separate lives in retirement. They may have been looking forward to this moment for decades, only to find out that they have different interests. With the children now out of the house, they may find themselves bored with nothing to talk about. In many marriages, one person wants to stay at home while the other wants to go out and travel and explore life. This can lead to the breakdown of a marriage.
Financial Implications of Senior Divorce
Even if a couple is financially secure, a divorce late in life can throw a wrench in one’s retirement plans. Everything needs to be split up, including pensions, 401(k) accounts, and retirement plans. One household is being split into two. If the couple is retired, they may have to go out and work again to save up for retirement. They may need to sell assets or downsize. A divorce becomes a huge financial issue at this stage of life, so if a couple decides divorce is the only option, they need to be prepared.
Health Implications of Senior Divorce
The health implications of a divorce at this age are also noticeable. A gray divorce comes with psychological consequences. Gray divorce is associated with increased risk of depression. Some develop anxiety or chronic stress. They may also suffer from fatigue, loss of interest in hobbies, insomnia, and memory issues. This increase in stress levels can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer Today
The rise of gray divorces shows that couples of any age can see their marriage end. Even if a couple has been married 20, 30 or 40 years, they are not immune from the effects of a broken marriage. The health and financial implications of a gray divorce, however, can be more drastic than a divorce of a younger couple.
No matter your age, if you are unhappily married, it may be time to consider divorce. Brooklyn divorce attorney Theodore Alatsas ESQ can help you understand your options. Contact our office at (718) 233-2903 to schedule a consultation today.