Attorney Todd Dwire speaking with staff member in conference room

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3 issues that could lead to a gray divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Divorce |

Trying to categorize divorces can help people better understand common family law situations. Divorces involving people who are age 50 or older are also known as gray divorces. Couples who have spent years together may decide that they might prefer to spend their golden years alone or with a different partner.

So-called gray divorces can be very disruptive. People often don’t know what to expect if they end a marriage after decades with a spouse. Many people find it surprising that those who have stayed with a partner for years decide to divorce right before or during retirement. However, there are common factors that connect many gray divorces.

What commonly leads to people deciding to divorce later in life?

Issues with infidelity

Behavior that is easy to hide when someone has a job and other obligations outside of their home can become obvious after retirement. Someone who has previously managed to hide their extramarital affair could end up exposed early in their retirement years. Spouses who uncover the infidelity of a spouse often decide that they would rather end the marriage than stay with someone who violated their marital vows.

Empty nest syndrome

Couples frequently find deep connection through their shared children. The inverse can also be true. When they no longer have children at home who require their support, they may start drifting apart from each other. When children are no longer present to serve as a buffer between the spouses, people may come to realize that they don’t actually enjoy each other’s company anymore. Others may have solely remained married for the benefit of their children previously. Once the children leave home and start their own adult lives, the parents in the family may feel more comfortable moving forward with a divorce.

Mismatched values or health circumstances

Sometimes, an age discrepancy between spouses becomes more obvious as they age. The younger spouse may still want to socialize and travel, while the other primarily stays at home. In some cases, it might be a medical diagnosis involving a degenerative or terminal illness that prompts one spouse to file for divorce. Other times, people may realize that their personal values have changed or that their spouses have. They may have shared morals and beliefs before but now find themselves disagreeing all the time.

There are a host of other reasons why people might decide to divorce close to or after the age of retirement. Gray divorces are subject to the same laws as any other divorce, but they can become more complicated and contentious in some cases. Understanding why other couples decide to divorce might help people evaluate whether filing for a gray divorce is the right choice in their situation. Spouses who pursue gray divorces can often enjoy greater personal happiness and satisfaction in their golden years.


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