While the total number of divorces has declined in the United States over the past 20 years, the divorce rate of people in their 50s and older has steadily grown.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the U.S. divorce rate dropped 18% between 2008 and 2016. However, the Pew Research Center says the rate has doubled for those age 50 and above and tripled for those over 65.

What leads to a grey divorce?

Divorce can be the most challenging time in anyone’s life, but frequently it is the best option for both spouses. There are several potential triggers for a grey divorce, including:

  • Financial: Couples who continuously fight over money or who struggle with debt often file for divorce. It can also depend on the chief bread-winner. Studies show marriages are usually stronger where the husband earns more but fail more frequently when the wife makes more money. Divorce also often results when finances are mismanaged.
  • Emotional: Couples in grey divorces often speak of losing interest in their partner or no longer feeling a “spark.” Many fall under “empty nest syndrome,” where they realize their feelings have changed after all their children are grown and have left the house.
  • Behavioral: Infidelity is a primary reason for divorce among older couples. While cheating on a spouse may not carry the same social stigma it once did, researchers say baby boomers tend to put their own needs and happiness ahead of others, and that often leads to infidelity.
  • Health: Life expectancy and advanced medical care can lead to a more positive outlook for older people who remain active and fit and want to be with someone who better suits their own healthy and lively interests and pursuits.
  • Addiction: A spouse can often view dependency upon drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography or other addictions as another form of infidelity as those bad habits can negatively impact a family emotionally and financially.

Divorce can lead to a brighter future for many

While no one goes into their relationship thinking they will get divorced, ending a marriage is often the best option even for couples who have been together for many years. An experienced and compassionate family law attorney here in Massachusetts can help you through every step of the process in finding a workable settlement or by representing you in court if necessary.

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