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What are gray divorces?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Family Law

Decades ago, it would have been virtually unheard of for someone’s grandparents to get divorced – but things have changed.

Today, one in four divorces involve couples 65 years of age or older, and these so-called “gray divorces” are increasingly common.

What’s causing long-term marriage to fall apart?

Studies have shown that many marriages fracture within the first year or two of marriage. Couples may marry and then quickly divorce once they become disillusioned with the ordinary aspects of married life or realize that they’re incompatible with their spouses.

So, what drives couples in long-term marriages to split once they’re long past those early hurdles? There may be several different reasons converging:

  • Social attitudes toward divorce are different: It wasn’t that long ago that divorce was stigmatized. Today, it’s perfectly acceptable in most social circles, and many older couples may simply no longer feel the need to pretend to be happy together.
  • Women have their own resources: In the past, women often had little money or resources of their own, with many being homemakers or underemployed. Today, women are equally likely to have their own careers as their husbands. Their economic independence makes it easier to leave a bad marriage.
  • Emotional attitudes have changed: These days, people are largely encouraged to seek personal fulfillment in their lives at any age – and people in unhappy relationships may find it easier to get the emotional support they need to move on.
  • Empty-nest syndrome is real: The period when young adult children leave home can often prompt couples to reevaluate their relationship. With children out of the house, couples may find that they have grown apart and now have little in common.

If you think that you may benefit from filing a gray divorce, your concerns are likely different from those of people who are in their 20s and 30s. Tailored legal guidance can help you assess your situation and decide what steps to take next.