Divorce at or after the age of 50 is often referred to as gray divorce, and this trend is on the rise. While it’s become less common for younger Americans to divorce, gray divorce has nearly doubled since the 1990s. It’s almost counter-intuitive—you’ve made it this far; why not just keep going? Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Doing the Numbers
The number of Americans over the age of 50 has grown dramatically and is expected to continue to do so. Additionally, our life expectancy continues to move upward. The fact that there are currently more people who are 50 and older and that they’re living longer allows for more wiggle room within which to contemplate and seek a divorce.
Why Divorce, Though?
While it’s nearly impossible to say why more couples are divorcing in their 50s and beyond, a recent small research project interviewed 40 men and 40 women who’d gone through a gray divorce (none of whom had married each other, and all of whom were serious about their divorce motivations). The results offer some interesting insights. The researcher concludes that the foundation of marriage has changed over the decades. Beginning in the 20th century, for example, love bound couples—but this was coupled with mutually binding responsibilities for one another. Within this model, when one spouse engaged in harmful behaviors against the other party, that spouse violated the binds of responsibility and divorce became more viable.
With all the self-empowerment and self-development of the 1960s, you might expect baby boomers to divorce based on a lack of fulfillment, but the research did not show this. Again, most interviewees relayed that one spouse’s inability to live up to binding responsibilities broke up the marriage. The idea that gray divorce is about old hippies returning to their roots doesn’t seem to hold any ground.
Complications of a Gray Divorce
Gray divorce typically has more levels of complication than the divorce of a younger couple. Those in long-term marriages have often amassed more assets, and those assets are usually extremely entwined. Furthermore, many such couples own their homes outright—or are close to doing so—and a family home can hold significant emotional value. For example, if one of the spouses plans on remaining in the home, that spouse will remain the host or hostess at family events into the future while the other spouse will likely no longer be a part of these celebrations.
If You’re Looking at a Gray Divorce, Contact a Texas Divorce Lawyer Today
If you’re facing a gray divorce in Sugar Land, Katy, Richmond, Rosenberg, or anywhere in Texas, you may well feel blindsided. You’ve been married a long time and now, this! Gray divorce comes with its own unique set of complicating factors. Attorney Frank J. Vendt at The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., understands how difficult this is for you, and he’s here to help. Mr. Vendt has the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help you navigate the process—while protecting your financial and personal interests. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Vendt, please contact or call us at (832) 276-9474 today.