More Americans are getting divorced in their senior years. While this trend has come as a surprise to some, if you are a senior citizen contemplating divorce, you understand that relationships can deteriorate gradually, and that changes in circumstances can warrant developing a new outlook on life. As individuals approach their later years in life, it is not uncommon for them to start wanting something different, something more.
Senior Citizen Divorce Statistics
A recent study published by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University highlights the growing rate of divorce among senior citizens (often referred to as “silver” or “grey” divorce). According to the researchers who published the study:
- While the overall divorce rate has remained steady, the rate of divorce among senior citizens has more than doubled since 1990.
- More than half of all silver divorces involve first marriages.
- Among silver divorces, 55% involve marriages of 20 years or longer. According to the researchers behind the study, “Many of these marriages have not been marked by severe discord . . . the partners have simply grown apart.”
- Today, 25% of people getting divorced are over the age of 50, and nearly 10% are over the age of 65.
Why Are Silver Divorces Growing in Popularity?
So, why are more senior citizens choosing to get divorced? As you might expect with such a significant increase in the senior divorce rate, there are several contributing factors. For example:
- According to the researchers at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, a leading factor seems to be that, “Today, most people hold marriage to a higher standard than in the past.” In other words, while preserving the marriage was itself a reason not to get divorced in the past, today people are expecting more from their partners. When marriages leave individual spouses wanting more, they are now more likely to get divorced.
- As a related factor, life expectancy is on the rise. Seniors are living longer, healthier lives, and this is making it both easier and more important for them to consider leaving an unfulfilling marriage in their silver years.
- Improved health and online dating are making it easier for divorced seniors to find new partners. According to the study’s authors, “Online dating is surging among [senior citizens].”
Considerations When Getting Divorced as a Senior Citizen
If you are considering getting divorced as a senior citizen, it is important that you seek experienced legal advice. You will need to protect the assets you have collected during your lifetime, and you will need to make sure you carefully address the issue of spousal support to ensure that you receive an appropriate award. Failure to plan appropriately for a silver divorce can have significant financial consequences; however, with the right approach and the right outlook, seniors seeking to get divorced can preserve their interests while liberating themselves to an entirely new world of possibilities.
Schedule a Consultation with North County, CA Divorce Attorney Richard M. Renkin
If you are senior citizen and are considering a divorce, Richard M. Renkin can help you explore your options. Richard is a divorce attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist who has been representing divorcing spouses in California since 1991. To learn more about what you can expect from the divorce process, call 619-299-7100 or request a consultation online today.