The divorce rate in the United States is the lowest we have seen since the 1970s. However, divorce among seniors is at an all-time high. The 50+ population make up the largest segment of the divorce population, attributing to about a quarter of the total divorce count. The number of older Americans filing for divorce has doubled in the last 25 years. This increase in divorces for couples over the age of 50 has been named the Gray Divorce Revolution.
There are several theories which hope to explain this trend toward divorce among older couples. The Baby Boomers, the largest living generation, is aging, which has shifted many trends towards older Americans. Not only are we getting married much later in life, but we are living longer, too. Older couples give different reasons when asked why they are divorcing. Some longtime spouses simply “wait it out” for the kids, waiting to get divorced once the children are out of the home.
A major factor behind the divorce rate in older Americans is the high failure rate of remarriage. Many of the divorces attributed to the Gray Divorce Revolution are second (or third) marriages. Subsequent marriages have a drastically lower success rate than first marriages. Among the general population, a first marriage has about a 60 percent chance of lifetime success. Second marriages last just 33 percent of the time, while three-fourths of third marriages end in divorce.
How to Survive Divorce After 50
Getting divorced as a senior presents some unique challenges, such as preparing for or maintaining retirement. However, the gray divorce is not all bad. (If your kids are older, there is a good chance you can skip the custody battle that haunts younger divorcing couples.) Make it through your divorce by following these tips:
- Consult a Professional. Divorce lawyers, CPAs, and family therapists are just some of the professionals you may need during your divorce. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- Financial planning is key. Starting over when you are nearing retirement age can be a challenge. Do not agree to a divorce settlement until you have thoroughly reviewed the financial ramifications.
- Stay active. Loneliness is a major problem for senior citizens, and a recent divorce might only make that worse. Reach out to old friends and make new connections in your community.
- Watch what you say in front of the kids. You may be dealing with anger and resentment after your divorce, but try to resist using your adult child as a therapist. Even adult children may have difficulty adjusting to your divorce, and no one benefits from bad mouthing your child’s other parent.
Greenville, South Carolina Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
Divorce is not an easy decision for anyone. If you are considering a divorce, reach out to an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. The skilled and compassionate lawyers at Elliott Frazier Law Firm are here to help every step of the way. For divorce and family law advice, contact our office in Greenville, South Carolina to schedule a consultation.