While general divorce rates have been on the decline over the last few decades, rates for gray divorces have been on the rise. Gray divorces involve couples aged 50 or older who have been together for many years.
It might seem like the longer the marriage, the stronger it is, but the truth is that many older couples face just as many challenges as newly married couples. Here are a few of the key factors in gray divorces, which are often more complex when it comes to property division and other issues.
Unresolved issues may finally take their toll
Marital problems do not usually emerge from out of nowhere. For many couples who have been married for decades and then decide to divorce, the problems may have started years before action was taken. Some spouses choose to stay together for their children, only to realize their problems are irreconcilable once the children are out of the home. In other cases, one spouse may be unable to overcome past infidelities or other issues, even ones that occurred much earlier in the marriage.
Financial strife often keeps long-term couples together
While it is definitely true that financial struggles sometimes cause couples to divorce, this is not usually true when it comes to older spouses. Many older people are reliant on each financially, especially if one person has been the primary breadwinner for many years. If you are a non-working spouse in a marriage, you may question your ability to earn a living on your own. You may also have concerns about leaving the family home and finding a new place to live.
Divorce might be the best option for all involved
Even if your marital relationship is financially stable, the emotional fallout from being involved in an unhappy relationship can be extremely damaging. While divorce is emotionally trying no matter the situation, many couples find that their outlook improves after separating. Advances in medical care and the belief that people can be vibrant well into their 70s means that gray divorce may open the door to new opportunities and relationships.