Considerations for “Gray Divorce” in Massachusetts

While divorce rates have leveled off for most of the population, the rate for couples over 50 has actually increased. In the past 20 years the rate of divorce for these older couples has doubled, and now one out of every four persons getting divorced is 50 or older. In 1990, only one out of 10 people filing for divorce fit that demographic.

Why Seniors Are Divorcing

The growing social trend toward divorce among older couples in Massachusetts and the rest of the nation may seem surprising, but several factors contribute to the rise. People now in their fifties and sixties were attaining adulthood as divorce rates began to rise in the 1970s and '80s, and there was a growing social acceptance of divorce among the general population. Baby boomers are more willing than their own parents and grandparents to entertain the thought of divorce.

Another explanation for the higher "gray divorce" rate rests on the fact that second and subsequent marriages are likelier to end in divorce, and many in this generation are not marital first-timers.

Finally, couples who were busy building a career or family may discover in retirement that they no longer have much in common. Seeking happiness and personal fulfillment, they may decide, is better done alone.

Moving Forward After Gray Divorce

Divorcing older couples do have unique divorce concerns that apply to people at their stage of life. Aging Americans traditionally tend to rely primarily on a spouse for support during illness. Some alternative support system will be necessary for those going solo.

Financial considerations, too, deserve a hard look. Retirement benefits are a very large asset that will need to be equitably split in divorce. Baby boomers tend to have more assets than the rest of the population and obtaining a fair property division can often play a huge role in being able to manage finances as a single person.

If you are considering getting a divorce, contact a skilled divorce attorney who understands the unique concerns facing those who divorce later in life.