Late in Life Divorces on the Rise
It used to be rather uncommon for couples over the age of 50 to get divorced. Not anymore.
In fact, the National Center for Family and Marriage Research reports that the divorce rate for married couples over 50 has doubled in the last 20 years. In 2010, 25% of all divorces were between couples in this age bracket.
There are many good reasons couples may choose divorce in their 50s:
50 is the new 40!
Like many trends, Americans having a longer life expectancy is one of the primary reasons for late-in-life divorces. For some couples, the thought of staying together into old age is romantic, but for others, it’s daunting, and they’d much prefer to start over, either alone or with someone new.
Stay together for the kids
Additionally, couples are more likely today than in the past to wait until later in life to have children. So a couple with problems who chooses a stable environment for their children now means waiting to divorce until they’re older than in the past.
Young and broke
Finally, some couples stay together when they are younger and more financially unstable because they lean on each other to make ends meet. After spending years establishing a career or comfortable life, they feel more confident in their ability to live independently, and finally split.
However, there are also many problems that arise when adults get married at this age:
The longer a couple is together, typically the more entangled their finances are. So you can see why one of the major problems with late-in-life divorces is money. Splitting pensions and retirement funds can become more complicated as couples age, so be sure to consider every financial aspect.
Lost without you
Some couples may be checked out of the relationship romantically, but after years of marriage, don’t realize until after a separation or divorce how much they have relied on their partner for everyday things. This can be for something anything from cooking dinner to handling bills and finances.
Even though the kids are grown and moved out, the divorce of parents can still have a lasting effect on families and relationships. Adult children often struggle emotionally, thinking of their parents divorce as an indication of their own futures, or make connections to the past that they may otherwise not have. The best way to handle this is the same as with young children—deliver the information as a unified front. Many times, older adults think they don’t have to take these precautions, but it’s still the best way to preserve difficult emotions.
No matter your age, the length of your marriage, or which marriage your on, sometimes divorce remains the best option for struggling couples. Late-in-life divorces may be more common than in the past, but as long as they are well guided and considered, they can also be the right move for your family.