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Grey divorce rates and their impact on older adults

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2023 | Divorce

Although many associate divorce with younger people, statistics on grey divorce tell a different story.

In recent decades, more older adults have decided to end their marriages. These mature couples often have complex needs and distinct concerns that impact divorce proceedings.

Rising divorce rates

While divorce rates for the general population have declined, the opposite holds true for older adults. From 1990 to 2010, researchers found that the divorce rate for individuals over 50 in the United States doubled. Furthermore, there is a continuing increase in divorce rates for seniors over 65. This shift led to the term “grey divorce,” which describes older adults breaking away from conventional marriages later in life.

Reasons behind the trend

Several factors contribute to the grey divorce trend. Among couples married for two or more decades, feelings of distance often emerge. These sentiments may arise as children, who had been a unifying force, become adults and move out. The stigma once attached to divorce has also faded, allowing older adults to pursue personal happiness in their golden years. As people live longer, they may reassess their priorities and opt for a lifestyle that aligns more with their desires and aspirations.

New life challenges

Grey divorce brings forth unique challenges. Finances can be complex for older couples due to shared assets accumulated over the years. Spousal support, division of retirement benefits and lifestyle adjustments all require careful consideration. As retirement looms, the economic picture changes significantly, necessitating discussions on financial sustainability and the potential need to work longer or find new sources of income.

Studies show that divorce for older couples is more common now than in decades past. Although the trend of grey divorce can bring difficulties for older adults, it can also offer opportunities for fulfillment.


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