Late-in-life divorce, just like any marriage split, can be challenging for not only the couple but friends and family. After a long-term marriage, it can be hard for others to understand why it doesn’t work out. Many assume that it has something to do with a late-life crisis, but often, the decision is influenced by factors similar to any divorce.
The overall divorce rate in the past 20 years has declined, but the rate of divorce for people older than 50 years has increased in the U.S. In 2009, 1 in 4 individuals who went through a divorce were over 50.
Forbes reported the top five reasons that gray divorce happens:
- Finances – As with many marriages, financial management is a challenge. When one party is earning all the money for the family, as is common among older couples, finances can be especially tricky.
- Growth apart – With many life changes like children growing up and retirement, many couples realize they are no longer happy or don’t want to move into the next phase of life together.
- Cheating – Though they are likely past the seven-year itch, infidelity still happens among older couples and can be a deal-breaker.
- Health – Higher life expectancy and better healthcare today mean that people are staying more active longer. Sometimes, this makes people want to seek out new partners to share their interests.
- Addiction – Addiction and dependencies of any kind can change how people behave and cause them to be reckless with their finances. Destructive habits can easily put a strain on a marriage.
Though divorce at a late stage of life can change a large family structure and be strenuous to carry out, many couples have contemplated their choice for years. It’s not typically a snap decision and can be for the better of both parties.