The national divorce rate has been decreasing steadily since the 1980s. But not for couples over age 50. According to a study conducted by Bowling Green State University, the rate of so-called gray divorces has increased by more than 100 percent over the last 20 years, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.
In the study, sociologists predict that gray divorces will increase to 800,000 per year in 2030, up from 600,000 in 2009. In 1990, only one in 10 couples over age 50 divorced. That number increased to one in four in 2009. The chance of divorce is even greater for those couples who are on second or third marriages.
Experts say a number of factors lead to gray divorces. After a couple’s children are grown and gone, women have increased economic independence and the confidence to leave unhappy marriages and find personal fulfillment elsewhere. Social media and online dating sites make it easier to reconnect with past loves or find potential new partners. People are living longer and balk at the prospect of spending several more decades in relationships that no longer bring them satisfaction.
Divorce is difficult at any age. While older couples may not have issues of child custody and support, they tend to have more assets and higher net worth. Asset valuation and division of things like retirement plans, business assets, real estate, and other property interests can be challenging. An experienced divorce attorney can help with the proper valuation of marital property and asset division.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Gray Divorce: Will You Become Part Of The Trend?” Shelley Emling, Nov. 1, 2012