Overall, the divorce rate in the United States has declined over the last several decades. When you look at individual age groups, however, they do not all show a decrease in divorce. According to U.S. News and World Report, since the 1990s the divorce rate among adults ages 50 and older has doubled.
Therefore, if you are over the age of 50 and considering a divorce from your spouse, you are not alone. While you may know what the issues are in your own relationship, you may wonder about the cause of the trend and the unique challenges you may face during your “gray” divorce.
What is causing the uptick in gray divorce?
If you are a baby boomer or older, you may have noticed that the stigma surrounding divorce that was prevalent in the early years of your marriage has reduced considerably. Therefore, something that may have seemed unthinkable to you and your peers a few decades ago now starts to seem like a possibility.
Generally speaking, people have a longer life expectancy now than in the previous century. This means that you can now expect to spend more years with your spouse in retirement than you may have anticipated when you first married. For many people, the prospect of a longer life may motivate them to rethink whether remaining in an unhealthy relationship is a sustainable prospect.
What issues may you face when you divorce after 50?
When you divorce after 50, you are more likely to have grown children, some of whom may be parents themselves. This means that child support and custody are probably not issues in your divorce. Nevertheless, being an adult does not shield your grown children from emotional trauma relating to their parents’ split, and it may have an affect on your grandchildren as well.
Being in or close to retirement when you divorce can also raise financial issues. Even if you and your spouse have saved for retirement, it may not be enough to support two households. You may have to supplement your income by entering or re-entering the workforce.