In recent years, family courts have seen an increase in divorce cases from couples in their fifties and beyond. In fact, more than a third of all divorce cases include couples who are at least 50 years old.
There are many contributing factors leading to the increased prevalence of divorce among older adults.
At one time, society frowned upon divorce. Older adults who faced relationship challenges simply accepted their situation because divorce was unacceptable. In the last few decades, the subsequent generation’s changing perspectives has led to increased acceptance of divorce, even in an aging population.
Increased life expectancy
An increased life expectancy contributes to the rise in gray divorce as well. As people face retirement with more years ahead of them than previously anticipated, happiness takes priority. This often leads to separation in a relationship where empty nests and passing years create distance and unfamiliarity.
People age differently, with some older adults retaining their energy and zeal for life while others simply want to relax and enjoy their retirement years. These differing goals can strain a relationship, especially after many decades of marriage. One partner may choose their own independence to pursue their personal goals instead of staying in a marriage that no longer suits them.
Divorce no longer carries the stigma that it had in prior generations. Even retirees and older adults embrace their happiness and seek divorce when it suits their needs. These are a few factors contributing to the rise in gray divorce, but many other considerations may apply.