Gray divorce is a societal trend that is affecting couples in New Jersey and around the world. Despite declines in the divorce rate of younger couples, divorce among people over the age of 50 has been increasing steadily for decades.
Researchers say this is a global trend
In 2012, researchers from Bowling Green State University found that the U.S. divorce rate had doubled in 20 years for couples over the age of 50. The divorce rate among couples over the age of 65 was even higher. Researchers called the trend the “gray divorce revolution” and predicted that it would continue over the next couple decades as the population aged.
Meanwhile, researchers in other parts of the world are noticing the same explosion in gray divorce. The divorce trend has been noted by researchers in Canada, the UK, Europe, India, Australia and Japan. In Japan, divorce has quadrupled among couples with at least 30 years of marriage behind them.
Older couples face different divorce issues
When younger couples go through a divorce, child custody is often the central family law issue in divorce proceedings. Couples that are in their 20s, 30s and 40s, may not have accumulated as much wealth as couples that are going through a gray divorce. While gray divorce may be easier since children are grown up, untangling finances can be a lot more complicated.
Why is this happening?
Researchers don’t know exactly why gray divorce has been increasing in recent decades, but they can make guesses. Couples that get a divorce late in life are often unhappily married for years, but raising kids and pursuing their careers might have distracted them. When the kids grow up and retirement kicks in, an older couple may realize that they are no longer compatible.