Why is divorce becoming more popular among older couples?

For most of our Dallas County readers, there are two major life events that happen in just about everyone’s life: marriage and having children. When most couples divorce, they consider themselves young enough to take another chance at these life events. But for couples over the age of 50, this might be less true, especially considering the challenges they might face in the dating world and starting a family together.

Back in 1990, less than one in ten couples got divorced over the age of 50. Now, that statistic has jumped to one in four. But what triggered this change and what does it tell us about how society is changing?

Experts are in the last few years have started to see a shift in divorce rates among older couples. As we mentioned above, the divorce rate has increased to one in four couples, and some experts believe this may have a lot to do with changes in our society.

As one sociologist points out, women have become incredibly independent over the last few decades and are increasing their presence in the workforce with each passing year. Long gone is the idea that a woman has to choose between a bad marriage and poverty because now she can support herself. And with introduction of online dating, some companies are catering to the older generation, making it easier to divorce later in life and still meet someone new.

But as readers of our blog know, there can be a downside to divorcing later in life. While older couples often do not need to worry about difficult child custody battles because their children are usually grown and out of the house, property division can become an issue. Depending on the length of the marriage, a considerable amount of assets may have accumulated including savings accounts, 401Ks and insurance policies. Dividing these assets could become tricky, especially if both spouses are retired and have limited incomes.

We hope that our readers will consider this in their own situation, especially if a ‘gray divorce’ appears to be in their future.

Source: Npr.org, “Older Americans' Breakups Are Causing A 'Graying' Divorce Trend,” Ina Jaffe, Feb. 24, 2014

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