As a general rule, the divorce rate has been falling for a while in the United States. There was a rise in the overall rate in the 1970s, due to the implementation of no-fault divorce laws. But the rate has generally dipped moving forward, in large part because younger people are putting off getting married until an older age.
However, the gray divorce rate is going up. A gray divorce involves someone who is 50 years old and older, and many of these couples are part of the Baby Boomer generation. For this age group, divorce is becoming more common every year.
Why is this happening?
There are numerous reasons why this divorce rate is rising. One may be increased life expectancy. Many people in their 50s or 60s may want to maximize the time they have left, and they may not be on the same page with their partner regarding what that means.
Similarly, many couples in this age group have recently become empty-nesters. Their children have moved out of the house. Inevitably, some parents were likely staying together for the children and finally felt free to get a divorce.
Beyond that, some couples just grow apart over time. A relationship that may have worked at a younger age may no longer be as strong as it once was. In fact, many older couples realize that their relationship isn’t working when they become empty-nesters, specifically because the kids are out of the house and so there aren’t any distractions.
A gray divorce can be complicated, especially from a financial perspective, when considering life savings and retirement accounts. Those going through this process must be well aware of their legal options.