Rise of ‘gray divorce’ raises many questions for older couples

Imagine that you and your spouse have been happily married for many years. You’ve been through a lot together over the decades, and as the calendar keeps flipping, it seems like you and your spouse will be together forever. Up into your 40s and even in your 50s, the two of you feel a strong connection.

But then one day, that connection feels different. You and your spouse aren’t getting along like you used to. You start to fundamentally disagree on matters that, years ago, you would have been united on. Years pass, and your connection only gets worse. You and your spouse are approaching your 60s, and neither of you wants to go through that decade feeling unhappy and bitter. So, one day, the two of you finally decide it’s time to sever the connection. You file for divorce.

This imaginary situation is not hypothetical for many older couples. The divorce rate of the Baby Boomer generation has been steadily increasing, and a recent report by sociologists at Bowling Green University discovered that the divorce has doubled over the past 20 years for people over the age of 50.

The phenomenon is called “gray divorce,” and it does not signify a failure on the part of older people, or the state of marriage, or even society as a whole. It is simply the way things are trending in the divorce world — partly because people are living longer, and partly because spouses are more independent nowadays than they were many years ago.

With that in mind, older couples need to be prepared for some complex issues when they file for divorce. They have many assets that have accumulated over a lifetime, and they probably have multiple pieces of property that need to be properly divided between the two spouses. These matters can be very complicated, and the process can be expedited with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer.

Source: Inquisitr, “Old Age Divorce Records Have Baby Boomers Reworking Their Dating Game,” George Nielsen, May 15, 2014