Gray Divorce: When Senior Citizens Divorce

gray-divorceMost people probably think a divorce occurs after a couple of years of marriage, or while the spouses are still relatively young. While that may have been true during the 1970s and 1980s, a new phenomenon has developed as more and more adults over the age of 50 are now taking steps to end their marriages later in life.

Why Is “Gray Divorce” Happening Now?

The idea of grandpa and grandma going through divorce is now more common than ever. While that is an image many find difficult to comprehend, the fact remains that more and more seniors are divorcing now than ever before.

  • Older adults divorcing now are members of the baby boomer generation and tend to believe in the pursuit of happiness, even at the expense of ending a long marriage.
  • Baby boomers who divorced in the 1970s and 1980s frequently remarried. The rate of divorce among those in a second or third marriage is higher than among those in a first marriage.
  • People are living longer so “old age” looks very different now than it did 30 or 40 years ago. This is causing many to consider whether or not they want to remain married another 20 years.
  • The empty nest phase and retirement are major life transition that can cause major upheaval in a relationship. This upheaval can sometimes lead to divorce.

So What Can a Senior Expect if They Decide to Divorce?

  • A judge is more likely to order alimony payments after a long marriage.
  • Retirement funds will be divided, probably evenly, between the two parties.
  • Whoever keeps the house will have to give up something else.
  • While custody arrangements and child support probably are not a factor, divorce can still have a deep effect on adult children and grandchildren.
  • Divorce is emotional at any age, but try not to let anger or bitterness affect your relationship. An amicable approach to the split can be healthy and productive.
  • Once divorced, avoid isolating yourself. Make new friends and explore new opportunities. Even later in life, a divorce does not have to be an end, but rather a new beginning.
  • Should you decide to remarry, get a prenuptial agreement.

Get Sound Advice from an Experienced Illinois Divorce Lawyer

Regardless of age, years married or other circumstances, if you are considering a divorce it is important to get the advice of an attorney who understands the nuances of asset division, alimony, support and other facets. A knowledgeable DuPage County Divorce lawyer can help you navigate the divorce process from start to finish. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to discuss your options and receive answers to all your questions.


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