On your wedding day, whether that was less than five years ago or several decades more, you no doubt expected your marriage to last a lifetime. Statistics prove otherwise for many couples, however. In fact, the divorce rate for spouses who are ages 55 and older, who have been together for 20 or 30 years, has more than doubled in the past two decades. When a marital split occurs late in life, many refer to it as a silver divorce or gray divorce.
Some people might wonder why, if a pair of spouses has stuck it out for several decades, they would file for divorce in their golden years. Data shows that several key issues are relevant to this topic. While no two relationships are the same, many sliver divorce spouses can relate to certain factors that may have influenced their decisions.
Longer life expectancy compels some spouses to file for a silver divorce
People typically live much longer today than they might have in previous centuries. If you’re 60 years old, and your marriage has been on the rocks for some time, the thought of living together for another 20 or 30 years might be overwhelming. Many spouses want to seek self-fulfillment in the sunset years of life, and if their marital relationship is full of contention or they have drifted apart from their spouse, they decide that it’s better to divorce than stay in an unhappy marriage.
Today’s women are more financially independent
Long ago, most women stayed home full-time while their husbands became the sole income earners of their household. This often led to women in unhappy marriages feeling stuck because they had no way to support themselves. Today, many women not only work outside the home but own their businesses, as well. Financial independence is attainable, and many women like the idea of providing for themselves rather than relying on a spouse to make ends meet.
Cultural norms have shifted, and divorce no longer carries a stigma
This is, perhaps, one of the key issues that has influenced many spouses in their decision to file for divorce late in life. Divorce is no longer taboo, as it once was. People are not afraid of what others will think if they move on in life without their spouse. In fact, many people view their decisions as a type of liberation and an act of independence that allows them to seek their own happiness rather than stay married just because society says it’s the right thing to do.
If you are considering filing for divorce after many decades of marriage, you may encounter challenges regarding certain issues, such as property division. Retirement benefits, estate plans, business investments and other assets may come into play as you attempt to negotiate a fair settlement. Make sure that you are aware of Maryland property division guidelines, and remember that it’s best to avoid signing anything that you don’t fully understand.