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Gray Divorce is on the Rise

What is gray divorce?

Gray divorce refers to divorce among couples ages 50 and older. According to Pew Research Center, gray divorce has doubled since 1990, up nearly 109% between 1990 and 2015. The divorce rate is even higher for individuals over 50 who have been married previously. Renee Stepler, a former research analyst at Pew Research Center, writes that “the risk of divorce for adults ages 50 and older is also higher among those who have been married for a shorter time. For example, among adults 50 and older who had been married for less than 10 years, the divorce rate was 21 people per 1,000 married persons in 2015. By contrast, the divorce rate is 13 people per 1,000 married persons for adults ages 50 and older who had been married for 20 to 29 years. This is largely connected to remarriages being less stable than first marriages. In fact, most adults in this group who have been married less than 20 years were in their second or higher marriage.”

Why is gray divorce on the rise?

There is not a simple answer to this. People get divorced for a myriad of reasons: lack of communication, infidelity, or unrealistic expectations about their marriage. There is no exception for couples over 50. Oftentimes, people in long-term, unhealthy marriages decide that they do not want to spend the rest of their lives feeling unhappy. There is no longer a stigma surrounding divorce, making the decision to call it quits much easier than it was in previous years.

Financial and emotional implications of gray divorce

Although divorce at any age can hurt your bank account, older individuals who decide to end their marriages might experience more financial and emotional shrapnel. There is a lot to consider with gray divorce: retirement funds, more marital assets, brokerage accounts, and insurance policies. The longer you are married, the more there is to divide. As for the emotional consequences, researchers at Bowling Green State University found that when women divorce after 50, their standard of living drops nearly 45%, men nearly 21%.

How to ease the transition

The divorce process looks different for everyone. Whether you have been married for five years or 25 years, there are emotional and financial difficulties that come with it. So how can you take steps to make the process less complicated?

  • Opt for mediation rather than traditional litigation.
    • Traditional litigation can cost you years and thousands of dollars of attorney’s fees. Mediation is a more mutually beneficial and cost-effective way to resolve disputes.
  • Have a plan.
    • For any unhappy individual in a marriage that they do not want to be in, it is easy to make rash decisions without thinking about the consequences. Before you tell your spouse that you want a divorce, talk to a divorce attorney about your situation and let them advise you of your rights. Chatting with an attorney for as little as an hour can point you in the direction you need to go rather than trying to figure everything out by yourself.
  • Research your options.
    • There is more than one way to skin a cat. No matter what your situation is, it is important to look into all of your options. A divorce attorney will be able to help you explore your financial options, as well as keep an objective view and focus on the big picture.

Regardless of age, everyone deserves to be happy. Although the financial and emotional repercussions of a gray divorce can be more impactful than younger couples who have not acquired as many assets, parting ways with your spouse doesn’t have to be as messy as you think.

About Brown & Dutton Law Firm:

Family law matters affect your life deeply and personally. Family law is far more than just another “legal matter.” It impacts your life, your children’s lives, your finances, and your future.

Whether our clients are going through a complex divorce, a child custody issue, or have a modification need, they are our number one priority. At Brown & Dutton Family Law Firm, our family law attorneys take pride in supporting our clients and guiding them through any challenges they are facing. Helping our clients improve their quality of life is the reason we do what we do. We walk with clients every step of the way.

At Brown & Dutton Family Law Firm, we are a group of experienced divorce and family law attorneys in Georgia with years of litigation experience and countless satisfied clients.

The attorneys at Brown & Dutton would be honored to stand by your side during this difficult time. JenniLance, and Tracy are experienced, transparent, and compassionate Georgia family lawyers that have been practicing attorneys for more than 30 years. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin planning for your future!