Gray Divorce – What Is It and Why Is It Making Headlines?

I ran across several articles recently discussing “gray divorces”.  Apparently, the Wall Street Journal published a recent article discussing the increasing rate of divorces among couples 50+: “Though overall national divorce rates have declined since spiking in the 1980s, ‘gray divorce’ has risen to its highest level on record….In 1990, only one in 10 people who got divorced was 50 or older; by 2009, the number was roughly one in four. More than 600,000 people ages 50 and older got divorced in 2009,” the paper reported.  (See article here).

The article also cites a 2004 national survey conducted by AARP which found that women are the ones initiating most of these breakups. Among divorces by people ages 40-69, the survey found that women reported seeking the split 66% of the time.  The article speculates that this trend reflect the boomer generation’s desire for self-fulfillment.   “With the children out of the house and the realization one may have twenty five or more years of life, women often decide they want to strike out on their own and find greater personal satisfaction. “

While this may all be true, the reasons anyone seeks a divorce, including older people, are complicated and numerous.  Also, we find that women are in the majority of those filing for divorce, regardless of age and regardless of the reasons.  Even if the men are the instigators of the divorce, through infidelity or other issues, women tend to be the filing party because they are concerned about protecting the children, assets, or making sure they have enough to live on.  Therefore, it is not so easy to pinpoint the causes of divorce in any type of situation.

With that said, we do find that the largest group of people seeking divorce tend to be those married twenty (20) years or more.   Because the marriage is longer, this opens the door to many issues such as maintenance (alimony), more assets, more debts, etc.  These divorces tend to be among the most complicated.  If you are seeking a divorce, you should contact an experienced divorce attorney to determine what issues you may face and the potential outcomes to assist you in making this very important decision.

To discuss a potential divorce and what it may mean for you, call our office at 414-258-1644 to schedule a free initial office consultation or visit our website for more information.

Teri M Nelson