Getting a divorce in your 20s, 30s, or even 40s may seem like a fresh start. However, as you turn the corner on 50, the prospect of a new beginning may seem daunting and bleak, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Long-Term Marriages and Divorce Facts
Interestingly, overall divorce rates are the lowest in 40 years, but the number of people over the age of 50 who are getting divorced has doubled since 1990. Another term for divorcing over 50 is “gray divorce.” By 2010, one in four divorces involved a couple over the age of 50.
Typically, when a couple who has been married for a long time gets divorced, it is because the children have finally grown up and moved on with their lives. Divorce at this age can also be attributed to a midlife crisis or empty nest syndrome, but the relationship has usually suffered for many years.
Baby Boomers, over the age of 50 who have been divorced are two and a half times more likely to be remarried and get divorced again.
Financial Impacts of Divorcing Over the Age of 50
Another factor that keeps older couples together is wealth as divorce may risk their financial health. The division of assets and liabilities becomes more complicated for spouses who have been married for a lifetime and then divorce later. Some of the complicating elements are retirement accounts, living expenses, and alimony.
A widely held belief is that a lack of resources keeps couples together. However, the statistics show that more couples who divorce later in life are struggling, and unemployment plays a significant role in the divorce. Wealthy couples may build separate lives and distance themselves but may be less likely to divorce to preserve their lifestyle and retain their wealth.
Emotional Impacts of Divorcing Later in Life
Middle-aged couples who invest many years together may suffer severe emotional distress and financial hardship from getting divorced later in life. These effects can ripple through to their older children and could damage the parent-child relationship at any age.
When older marriages end, both parties can suffer depression and/or grief for an extended period. Not all couples do, but the risk factor is higher for older adults.
A Ray of Hope
Getting divorced later in life can also produce positive change. If the relationship was unhappy or even abusive, divorcing can bring relief and peace. Older couples may also enjoy newfound health, happiness, and may even find love again. Life after divorce doesn’t need to be devastating or feel like an end; it can be a beautiful new beginning for a
hopeful new life.
Board Certified Marital & Family Attorney, Life Coach