Couples over the age of 50 are getting divorced at an increasing rate in California and across the U.S. According to one study, the rate of “gray divorce” doubled nationwide from 1990 to 2010, even though the overall divorce rate decreased.
One reason for the growing rate of gray divorce may be that women today feel more of a sense of independence than they did a few decades ago, and they have an easier time walking away from a bad marriage. Things that women may have tolerated in older generations, such as adultery, are no longer considered acceptable by many wives.
According to one therapist, the main reason for couples getting divorced at an older age is emotional detachment. Since people are now living well into their 80s and 90s, they may decide they do not want to spend their golden years with someone with whom they no longer have a spark. It can also become more apparent to couples that they have grown apart after their children have grown up and left the house and stopped being the focus of attention. Of course, at least a portion of the divorces occurring among older couples are those of second or third marriages, which were statistically less likely to succeed in the first place.
Though getting divorced at an older age may mean that couples do not have to worry about things like child custody or support, they still need to determine how to separate their assets. In California, a community property state, all marital property must be split 50-50, including things like retirement assets, which can present a challenge if a portion of those assets was acquired before marriage. Individuals going through a divorce may want to consult with a family law attorney to discuss their situation.