For the average American, the divorce rate has been dropping for years. When no-fault divorce originally came on the books, there was a spike in divorce rates for the population as a whole, but they have fallen since.
However, it’s been found that one age group – those who are 50 years old and older – still have a rising divorce rate. Even though everyone else’s divorce rate is dropping, this age group keeps going up, and it has been termed “gray divorce.” Why has this been happening?
Greater life expectancy
Some have said that increased life expectancy could be one of the reasons for the increase in gray divorce. Fifty isn’t as old as it once was. People still have a lot they want to do and experience, and sometimes that means moving on from a long-term relationship.
Another potential reason is that empty-nesters sometimes get divorced when the last child goes to college. In some cases, it’s because the parents realize they have drifted apart without realizing it. In other cases, it’s just because they were intentionally staying together until the children are out of the house.
Changing social norms
Finally, divorce is accepted by modern culture in a way that it simply wasn’t 50 years ago. It’s possible that there are couples getting divorced now who have wanted to for some time, but it took these shifting social norms to make them feel comfortable taking that next step.
If you do decide to get divorced, a gray divorce can be very complicated, so make sure you know what legal options you have.