6 Surprising Facts About Gray Divorces

Unfortunately, older adults, particularly those beyond age fifty, are getting divorced at elevated rates. There is even a name for these situations, the so-called “Gray Divorce.”

A divorce late in life presents a number of challenges that younger couples may not face, like the halving of shared financial resources when both parties are well-past their prime working years. It is a growing issue, and one with many surprising aspects.

Let us share six Gray Divorce facts you may not know as we find more ways to protect you now and well into the future.

1. While Gray Divorces are less common than those among younger couples, senior citizen divorces have roughly tripled over the past twenty years, including an increasing amount of couples married for thirty years or more, according to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research.

2. These studies reveal that the biggest risk factor for older couples is not actually a life transition, such as “empty nest syndrome”,  it is whether one or both parties have been divorced in their past. Those who have been divorced are more likely to divorce again, and those whose previous marriages were short in duration are even more likely to divorce later in life.

3. Among older longtime married couples, insurmountable marital issues rarely occur late in life. More often, they date back many years prior to the actual Gray Divorce.

4. It is well-known that children often suffer lasting damage as a result of young or middle-aged parental divorce, but studies show that similar effects can occur among adult children of older divorcing couples. Emotional heartbreak is usually compounded by concerns over financial, health, and housing uncertainties.

5. Anger and grief can last long after a Gray Divorce is finalized, and can exacerbate existing health conditions for seniors. Lingering emotional stress of a late-life split is believed to contribute to health problems in many cases, particularly when an elder adult becomes depressed.

6. While financial instability is a considerable risk for those who divorce in the elder years, the threat of financial hardship can also serve to keep couples together, even when they might otherwise divorce. In other words, unhappy older couples may have more to lose by splitting up than by staying together.

We know these facts and statistics can be surprising to learn. Whether you are a California senior or love a California senior, we encourage you to learn more about the estate planning and elder law planning you need to keep you safe at any time in your life.

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