Divorce rates for younger people (those under 50) are either falling or staying the same, while divorces for people over 50 are on the rise.
There are multiple reasons for this, but two of the biggest factors include:
- Women have gained more financial independence and career success than in generations past, and might feel better positioned to “go it alone” post gray divorce than in previous generations of women. In divorces overall, a recent American Sociological Study reported that over 70% of divorces are initiated by women.
- People over 50 are living longer. As people look ahead to the next 20, 30, 40 years of their lives, sitting in a recliner for the “golden years” with a spouse you no longer have anything in common with, or simply fell out of love with, or truly don’t get along with, doesn’t seem so appealing. Divorce feels like a better option for some longtime married people over 50 who still want to enjoy the later chapters of life – which are longer chapters for many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers than any generation before.
There can be downsides to a gray divorce.
For people divorcing over the age of 50, there are higher risks of isolation. Studies show this is especially true for men; often in older generations, women were responsible for the social activities, friendships and social planning for the couple and divorced men over 50 can be especially prone to isolation following a Gray Divorce. This can lead to other mental and physical health issues that can especially impact older divorced men, such as depression, significant weight gain, high blood pressure and diabetes, studies have shown.
For women, the economic impact of a gray divorce can be very difficult. Statistically, according to a recent study, 11 percent of men who divorced after the age of 50 were in poverty, as compared to 27 percent of women. It can be harder to rebound from the financial impacts of divorce later in life, when there’s less career “earning” time to make up for any financial losses incurred due to the divorce.
Avail offers opportunities for divorced and divorcing people of ALL ages to access tools, resources and community connections to make divorce less expensive, less overwhelming, and less lonely. We encourage people going through Gray Divorce to join Avail’s membership community. They will find articles and tools such as our “Divorce Road Map” to know what to expect throughout the divorce process and save themselves money by being organized. For those wanting additional support, Avail Divorce offers 1-on-1 Certified Divorce Coaching sessions to help our clients think forward, make a plan, and weather the divorce process from a stronger, more supported place (this also usually saves people money, as they are more organized, better informed about the divorce process, better prepared for the decisions they’ll need to make, and they will spend less money on expensive attorney fees).
Community is the antidote to loneliness and isolation after divorce. It’s the gateway to new friendships, improved mental health, and getting out and trying new things. Avail offers community opportunities for both men and women, and people of all genders and ages. From local hikes and meet ups to travel experiences, Avail Divorce’s forthcoming “Avail Adventures” provides the opportunity to make new friends who are divorced, too, and looking ahead to make the most out of the next chapters of their lives.