The concept of “growing old” has evolved over time. As people live longer and stay active well into their golden years, with some living well into their eighties, they are willing to make significant changes in their lives. That includes ending a marriage.
Known as gray divorce – categorized as a marital dissolution between couples over 50 years old – the older demographic ending their marriages has doubled since 1990. Today, they represent 25 percent of all divorces in the United States.
The effects on adult children
Unlike younger sons and daughters of divorce, older children have their own lives and do not have to worry about disputes over child support, custody, and visitation. However, they can still feel the impact of a monumentally life-changing event well into adulthood, regardless of when a divorce occurs.
Mothers of gray divorce are two times more likely to increase their contact with their adult children. Conversely, fathers are 50 percent less likely to spend quality time with their offspring yet provide more financial support post-marital dissolution.
Baby Boomers and multiple marriages
Ironically, Baby Boomers divorcing late in life are the same generation that led to a significant uptick in divorce filings. Various factors are at play in this surge of gray divorces. Some experts cite the increase in dating sites for older singles and the availability of certain medications that enhance intimacy.
Some gray divorces involve parents who waited for the children to move on to their own lives and keep the family intact. That seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Two-thirds are ending marriages that were their second, third, fourth, and more, revealing the vulnerability of these relationships and how they end.
Regardless of your age or the circumstances surrounding a divorce, taking a “do-it-yourself” path ignores the complexities of the legal process. A skilled family law attorney can be your best advocate if you have made the decision to end your marriage and move on to a new chapter in life.