Gray Divorce

Gray divorce refers to couples who divorce when they are around the age of 50 or older. Many reasons exist for gray divorces and the challenges couples face are usually quite different than the concerns of younger couples during divorce. At Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC, you can benefit from our experience with helping couples tackle divorce issues later in their lives.

facts about gray divorce

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the following facts uniquely characterize gray divorce:

  • Gray divorce is on the rise, doubling over the past twenty years
  • In 1990, about one in 10 people who divorced were age 50 or older
  • By 2009, 25 percent of the people divorcing were age 50 or older
  • An AARP survey showed women initiated most gray divorces (66 percent)
  • Sociologists indicated a shift in marriage goals from the 1950s and 1960s where spouses focused on fulfilling roles as providers and homemakers to goals where spouses married each other for happiness
  • Fifty-three percent of individuals divorcing when over the age of 50 also have divorced at least once previously

Contested Issues

Traditional reasons common to all marriage breakdowns can also lead to gray divorce, such as infidelity, alcoholism or abuse. However, unique to gray divorces, some spouses move on because their children, now grown, are no longer a reason to stay together. Later in life, spouses grow apart as they develop different goals and interests. With grown children, couples are not concerned about child custody, child support, visitation or parenting issues. As many near retirement, conflicts are more likely to arise over the financial aspect of divorce ─ receiving a fair share of retirement savings, dealing with a reverse mortgage, long-term care plans, healthcare, dividing investments or deciding whether a spouse should pay spousal support and alimony. Spouses concentrate ondividing their property, acquired through considerable years of marriage. Attorneys can provide legal help with settling a high net worth divorce or valuating and dividing a family business, which are often significant aspects of gray divorce.