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Going through a gray divorce? Here's what you should know

If you've reached your 50s or 60s and decided that you want to get a divorce, your divorce is what's called a gray divorce. A gray divorce, named for the general hair color of people who are older, is one that involves people over the age of 50.

In this age group, divorce has a different connotation than for people who are younger. A couple might have children, but they're likely grown and out of the house. They may have property, but it could be paid for in full. Retirement accounts, savings and other assets may be much larger than for younger couples, all of which makes it even more necessary to be cautious throughout the divorce.

Gray divorce is growing

According to the National Center for Health Statistics and the United States Census Bureau, approximately 10 out of every 1,000 couples who are 50 or older end up divorcing. There are reasons for that. Some common causes of gray divorce include:

  • Reevaluating a marriage because your children have moved out of the house
  • Losing the connection between yourself and your spouse (growing apart)
  • Resentment from being unable to reach personal life goals due to marital obligations
  • Financial issues, such as differences in spending habits or ideas about saving
  • Sexual difficulties or a lack of sex
  • Boredom in a marriage due to a lack of communication or interaction

As you probably know now, the stigma that surrounds divorce is much less today than it was in the past. Divorce trends have rapidly changed, and many people no longer believe that you should suffer through an unhappy marriage.

If you've been through enough, you can move on

Divorce can be scary for someone who has been in a relationship with the same person for decades, and it can be devastating for both spouses involved. The reality is, though, that not all marriages will last forever, even if they were good while they lasted.

If you've put in the effort to try to work things out with your spouse and have realized that a divorce is the right answer, then you can begin the process. You'll need to reach out to your attorney to discuss filing for divorce and to begin gathering all of the documents you'll need to make property division and other aspects of your divorce easier. This process can be long, but with the right help and education, you'll be on the path to the divorce that you want.

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