What is Gray Divorce?
Marriage takes work at every stage, even 20 years into it. In recent years there has been a significant rise in divorce for the 50 years and older demographic, which is also known as “Gray Divorce.” Many of the pitfalls that often happen early in marriage, such as infidelity, family violence, and financial pressures can happen just as easily later in marriage. Below, Sheri Stritof discusses more about Gray Divorce.
Definition: If a couple divorces after the age of 50, they are considered to have a gray divorce. According to U.S. Census data from 2004, there was a 20 percent drop in married couples (wed between 1955-1984) who reached their 20th anniversary.
Reasons for Gray Divorce
- Growing old together can create distance.
- Living together without kids.
- Focused on different things or different values.
- Drifting apart, lack of being fulfilled.
- Alcohol or drug abuse.
- Lack of conflict with one spouse suffering silently.
- Unhappiness after many years.
- Lack of emotional connection with spouse.
- Loss of respect for each other.
- Lack of belief in sticking together no matter what.
- Desire for a fresh lease on life after staying for the sake of the kids.
Janice Green: “Late-life divorces and long-term separations can happen for the same reasons as the relationship breaches of younger adults: infidelity, family violence, financial pressures, regrets about earlier decisions, or the desire for independence. However, many of these reasons are reframed and have new meaning when they surface in the context of a graying divorce — and some late-life divorces are the result of realities unique to older adults.” Source: Janice Green. Divorce After 50: Your Guide to the Unique Legal & Financial Challenges. 2010. pg. 4.