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The likelihood of a gray divorce

Divorces among older couples have been on the rise in California and the rest of the United States. However, the causes may not be what people may think.

Current gray divorce trends show that the risk of divorce is not evenly applied among those who are 50 or older. While the current gray divorce rate is two times what it was 30 years ago, it is still not significantly high. In fact, the divorce rate for individuals over the age of 50 is half the rate of those younger than 50.

According to research from Bowling Green State University's National Center for Family and Marriage Research, the events that have been triggering gray divorce go beyond children leaving the home, education levels or the retirement of a spouse. Whether or not a couple owned property together or had financial security were contributing factors. The marital histories of over 5,000 couples were examined for the 2016 study. Those couples who owned property together were more likely to remain married as were couples who assets totaled over $250,000. Research conducted by the NCFMR in 2012 also confirms the significance of economic resources on the divorce rate. The research also found that the divorce rate for individuals in their first marriage tended to be less than half the rate of those that were in at least their second marriage. The gray divorce rate among the couples who had remarried was nearly three times than that for the couples married for the first time.

Older couples who are considering ending their marriage should first consult with their respective family law attorneys. There are certain legal issues that will be more important than others. For example, while child custody is unlikely to be a concern, the division of retirement accounts may become challenging.

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