Whether you have just taken your marital vows, or you recited them decades ago, you probably did not anticipate filing for divorce later on down the road. Yet, divorce is rather common among married Americans, and affects more than 50% of marriages. The rise of divorce in people over the age of 50 is known as the gray divorce phenomenon and it is taking the nation by storm. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 2.8% of people over the age of 50 filed for divorce a half-century ago, compared to 15.4% in 2011. While people may believe that a marriage that has lasted for decades may have avoided divorce altogether, that is simply not the case. Circumstances in life may change that cause people to terminate their marriage, even later in life.

There are several reasons why gray divorce may be on the rise. More women are in the workforce today when compared to half a century ago when many women were financially dependent on their spouses. If women are faced with an unhappy marriage, their financial independence puts them in a place where they can leave the marriage and survive. People are also living longer lives and may find that they do not wish to spend their remainder years stuck in an unhappy marriage.

Once the kids leave home or a spouse retires, couples may be forced to spend more time with one another. This may lead to a situation where couples find that they no longer have common interests or enjoying spending time with one another.

The implications of gray divorce should also be considered prior to terminating the marriage.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.