Though divorce rates are decreasing for younger adults, a new study by the Pew Foundation tells us that so-called “gray divorce” is increasing. For adults 50 years of age and older, the divorce rate has nearly doubled in the past 25 years, according to Pew’s research. Now, the rate of divorce for married people over 50 is 10 in 1000, which is double what it was in 1990, and among those 65 and older, the rate has tripled.
So how to account for the increase in “gray” divorce rates? One factor is simply that there are more people in that age bracket as Baby Boomers age. Additionally, since this same population saw a staggering number of divorces when they were younger, this latest crop of divorces could come from subsequent remarriages. The Pew study notes that remarriages see divorce at double the rate of those who have been married only once.
Another factor could be that divorce risk increases when marriages are of shorter duration. If more adults are on their second or third or fourth marriages, those marriages by definition may be shorter. On the other hand, some may see marriage as a more serious investment later in life.
By contrast, the rate of divorce for younger adults (those aged 25-39) has decreased. The reason? Many researchers say that the decline is due to many factors. Perhaps most important is that younger people are choosing cohabitation and delaying marriage. And, more young marrieds are college-educated, which is a factor for determining whether couples stay married.
Experts caution that the longer the marriage, the more assets there are, therefore, the divorcing couple needs to focus on asset division. As we age, our assets are likely increased because we have accumulated more time and income. Therefore, when couples divorce later in life, they may need to spend more time on property division discussions than their younger counterparts.
Divorce later in life is certainly more complicated than it once was. Assets are more significant and your desire to seek personal fulfillment is undoubtedly greater. If you are considering a divorce, be sure to ask an attorney to help you with the details.