While divorce rates have stabilized or even declined for many demographic groups in Kentucky and across the United States, this is not true for people of all ages. In fact, the divorce rate among Americans over the age of 50 continues to increase, a trend that has continued for two decades. Since the mid-1990s, divorces among people older than 50 have more than doubled. These separations have become known as “gray divorces.” While the term can apply to both breakups of longtime partnerships and splits between people on their second or third marriages, they are increasingly common.
In fact, one out of every four divorcing couples in the United States is over 50 years of age. There are a number of reasons that contribute to the growth of gray divorces. First, there are simply more older people alive today than there were in the past, especially as the large Baby Boom generation enters retirement. This number is expected to grow well into the future.
People also are living longer and healthier lives, which means that they are less likely to put up with an unhappy or troubled marriage for many years to come. Between 1950 and 2016, the average life expectancy for Americans has risen by at least 10 years for both men and women. However, studies show that people who divorce over the age of 50 often do so for serious reasons. Issues like abuse, infidelity, drug addiction or severe financial irresponsibility are often cited in gray divorces.
There are specific financial considerations people should keep in mind when they file for divorce over 50, especially as retirement funds will usually be split as a marital asset. A family law attorney can help people seeking a divorce to achieve a fair settlement in terms of property division, spousal support and other key matters.