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5 reasons older adults file for divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2021 | Divorce

Divorce is on the rise nationwide for people over 50, and Ohio couples who are in this age group might be more likely to split up than their parents or grandparents were. This is often referred to as “grey divorce,” and there are some reasons that it is likely to happen.

Changing lives

One of those reasons is changing attitudes about divorce. It has been decades since divorce has carried a serious stigma, and this means that even older couples are largely products of a world where it is not considered taboo to end a marriage. Therefore, they are more likely to leave an unhappy marriage than previous generations may have been. A related reason is that people are living longer and healthier lives, and this can mean that they are less likely to remain in a marriage that does not make them happy knowing that they may have many years ahead of them after retirement.

The empty nest

A third reason is the empty nest. Some parents may be focused on their family life only to discover that once the children are grown, they share little in common. A fourth and related cause of grey divorce is that the couple may have wanted to divorce years earlier for the same reason that many couples get divorced, such as infidelity or incompatibility, but agreed to stay together for the sake of the children. Once their children move out, they move ahead with the divorce as planned.

Changing roles for women

In addition, women are more financially independent than ever before. They are more likely to have their own income and retirement savings than in previous generations. Women file for divorce at a higher rate than men, and while in the past they might have stayed in an unhappy marriage as they got older for financial reasons, this is no longer necessary for many women today.

Grey divorce does involve certain considerations that older adults may want to be prepared for. This can include more complexity in dividing assets after decades of shared ownership and dealing with major changes in retirement planning.


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