hand with a ring, divorceDivorcing later in life, often referred to as gray divorce, is becoming more common, in part, because as people enjoy longer, more active lives, they grow apart and their goals and interests change. While the divorce rate for most other age groups has remained the same in recent years, the rate of divorce for people over 50 has nearly doubled. Researchers at Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research report that people over the age of 50 are more than twice as likely to divorce as younger married couples.

Why older couples are more likely to divorce

One of the most common reasons couples of any age divorce is that they have grown apart. There is usually no obvious reason that is noticeable on the surface of the relationship, but there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the relationship that erodes bonds and affection over time. When people reach middle-age, they often recreate themselves and pursue goals that have been on a back burner most of their lives due to family and work obligations. Their goals often do not align with those of their partner and may be entirely different than the goals they had when their marriage began decades earlier.

Money remains a factor

As priorities change, spending habits often change, too. Goals and hobbies that cost money are sometimes more important to one spouse than the other. As people get older and have less time in their life to accomplish things, they may be more willing to leave their spouse if necessary so they can pursue a new direction in their life. The best divorce lawyers often see individuals who initiated divorce simply to follow a new path.

Longer life expectancy

According to the Social Security Administration, ten percent of people currently over the age of 65 will live past 95. Twenty-five percent of today’s 65-year-olds will live past 90 and many will live to their mid-eighties. Many people who have been in an unfulfilling or unhappy marriage for a long time choose not to spend another 30, 40, or even 50 years miserable and in a bad marriage.