Growing old together was once a tenant of marriage. The ceremony emphasized a lifetime together as depicted by the oft-used phrase, “Until death do us part.”
Yet, based on divorce statistics, the pact ends much sooner. Surprisingly, the fastest-growing segment of divorced couples is those 50 to 70 years old. The demographic has more than doubled since 1990. That growth occurs in the shadow of divorces in decline from nearly one million in 2000 to approximately 630,000 in 2020. Millennial divorces have never been lower.
Whether significant or little effort goes into saving a marriage, people are living longer lives, many into their 100s. The era of the “gray divorce” is here with little sign of going away.
Surprising factors surrounding gray divorces
Surprisingly, infidelity, a common issue that leads to dissolutions barely registers in the reasons for gray divorces. Signs point to relationships reverting to autopilot following decades of deterioration.
Fifty-somethings and seventy-somethings are pulling the plug on marital life support, particularly for financially independent and healthy individuals. With more time, they are taking a long, hard look at the state of their relationship. Many look at how they tolerated loveless marriages lacking anything resembling intimacy, let alone the lack of support when it comes to their emotional needs.
Many divorces are the result of betrayal in the form of an affair. For couples 50 and older, that level of drama does not fracture the marriage. The foundation of their union crumbles over time as their needs continue to be unmet or ignored.
Regardless of the circumstances that ended the marriage, help from a skilled family law attorney is vital to ensure rights are protected, and the new phase in life represents financial and hopefully emotional stability.