It used to be the case that divorce was something only undertaken by younger couples; older spouses with longer marriages tended to be considered “safe” from it. However, that is no longer the case. Shifting divorce demographics reveal that couples over the age of 45 have seen a major increase in the number of divorces. In fact, according to statistics reported by the Washington Post, couples in that age group are divorcing at twice the rate that they used to in 1990. This shift has important implications for divorce law because divorces between older spouses tend to have different issues or shifted priorities.
Understanding Grey Divorce
The trend of grey divorce is a relatively recent one, and sociologists have been attempting to explain what is causing it. It seems to be a confluence of a variety of different factors. For one, divorces are generally looked on with much less stigma today than they were in the past, so people of all ages feel freer to get them. Beyond that, many women are achieving considerably greater financial independence than they had in past generations, which means that divorce is now a realistic possibility because they can comfortably support themselves.
There has also been a shift in the way that people view the institution of marriage. What was once about raising children and creating a stable environment for them has become much more about the personal fulfillment and happiness of the couple. Many people find it difficult to maintain that level of fulfillment and happiness with just one person throughout their whole lives. This is especially true because people are living longer now, meaning that marriages would have to last longer than they did in the past.
Special Considerations in Grey Divorce
If a couple is going through a grey divorce, it is important to understand that the priorities and issues may be different than they are in a divorce with a younger couple. For instance, child custody is much less likely to be an issue since the children are probably grown and out of the house. However, the adult children are still going to be affected emotionally and financially by the divorce, so there are special considerations to managing the spouses relationships with them during the divorce. Additionally, retirement assets such as IRAs will become more central to the property division process because the spouses will likely have less time to get their retirement plans back on track. Similarly, there are special Social Security issues related to ex-spouses that will likely loom large.
Grey divorces present unique issues that spouses should consider carefully. If you are thinking about filing for divorce and want more information about the process, contact a skilled Naperville divorce attorney to learn more about your options.