Once considered taboo, divorce came to prominence in the 1970s, with attitudes changing about ending marriages. At first, marital dissolutions were largely reserved for thirty and forty-something couples.
Several years ago, the divorce dynamic added a new demographic. Couples in their fifties, sixties, and older started to pull the plug on their unions in record numbers. Deemed “gray divorce,” the later-life dissolution continues to dominate family law proceedings nationwide.
All this occurs while the domestic divorce rate is close to a 50-year low. Recent U.S. Census Bureau data saw divorce rates at 43 percent – a record number – accounting for both sexes aged 55 to 64.
The consequences of a difficult decision
Being a new category in divorce puts those who decide to end a marriage late in life dealing with the financial impact, not to mention the social ramifications involving future relationships with relatives, friends, and adult children who are already grown and living their own lives.
As with any divorce, financial concerns surround the dissolution. Many spouses fear an uncertain future, wondering how they will support themselves. Those who worked to provide for their spouse have to face the possibility of alimony and how it will impact their bottom lines, not to mention valuable retirement accounts.
However, various scenarios could make a later-in-life break-up easier than it would have been when the splitting spouses were younger. Financial situations may be more stable. Offspring being older and on their own, may not be as quick to judge and perhaps understand their parents’ respective needs to move on to a new chapter of their lives.
Divorce at any age combines emotionally-complex issues with a sometimes lengthy legal process. Help from a divorce attorney may help to smooth the path toward a new future.