Many factors contribute to the “gray divorce” trend

The good news for most couples planning to tie the knot in Missouri is that overall divorce rates have declined over the past few decades. However, this isn’t true among one notable age group: individuals 50 and over. While the term “gray divorce” was first used around 2004, it’s a trend that has existed longer than that. The stigma attached to ending a marriage has diminished, but this isn’t the only reason why some people choose to split later in life.

Finances, for instance, can contribute to the decision to divorce after years of marriage. Money issues can involve everything from squabbles about debt and spending to differences in who earns what. Research suggests that marriages become stronger if the husband earns more, but the reverse is true if the wife earns significantly more. Other times, older couples simply grow apart or realize once children are grown that they no longer have the same feelings toward one another.

Infidelity can be another reason couples 50 and over opt to split. The increased accessibility of dating websites may inspire some 50-plus individuals to seek younger or more attractive partners. Some long-term marriages are affected by years of one spouse’s struggles with addiction. An increased life expectancy and access to better healthcare may also encourage some older individuals to reevaluate what makes them happy later in life, so they might seek someone else who is a batter match mentally, physically and psychologically.

Social Security benefits, investments and retirement benefits are just some of the issues that can complicate a gray divorce when it comes time to evaluate and split assets. A family law attorney may help with this process by bringing in outside resources, like financial planners and accountants, so a divorcing spouse can have a better idea of how the end of a marriage will affect them.

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