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What is a gray divorce and why are there so many?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Divorce |

Long ago, you might have been “old” if you lived past 45. Today, it’s not uncommon for people to live at least 30 (if not more) years longer than that. This means that, if you get married in your 20s or even early 30s, you and your spouse may spend 60 years or more together. A longer life span, increased marital longevity and many other issues have led to a rising trend in Georgia and throughout the country known as “gray divorce.”

Gray divorce is a colloquial phrase referring to spouses who file for divorce when they are 60 or beyond. In fact, many people have parted ways with their spouse after more than 50 years of marriage. Divorcing a spouse late in life has many implications that may not be as relevant to a younger couple. Spouses who file for a (gray) divorce often have commonalities between them.

Reasons for a gray divorce

You might wonder why someone who has been married for more than 50 years would file for a divorce. After all, if they made it that far, why not just stay together, right? On the contrary, many people say they stayed in an unhappy marriage so that their children would have both parents under one roof or because they were financially dependent on their spouse.

Once their kids grow up and are on their own, these spouses decide to do what they have wanted to do for a long time: file for a divorce. Some of the reasons spouses often cite for ending a marriage late in life include:

  • Infidelity
  • One or the other spouse develops a chronic illness
  • Drifted apart after the children grew up
  • Wife has financial independence
  • Stigma of divorce is obsolete

Data shows that at least one out of every four divorces today involve spouses who are 65 or older. If you’ve been thinking about filing for a divorce after many years of marriage, you may take comfort in knowing that many others in your age group have traveled similar paths. The gray divorce rate has more than doubled in a span of just two decades.

Making sure you receive a fair settlement

In a gray divorce, you may encounter challenges regarding several important issues, such as property division. This is because older people often have numerous financial accounts, retirement accounts, insurance policies, stocks and other investments and more. You or your spouse might even be a business owner. To make sure you receive the maximum amount to which you’re entitled under Georgia property division laws, it’s helpful to seek guidance before heading to court.