There’s a widespread belief that the first seven years of marriage are the hardest. Some experts say that if you make it through the first seven years, your marriage is likely to stand the test of time. However, recent research pushes back against that claim. A growing number of Americans are divorcing at much older ages, with the divorce rate of those 50 and older doubling in the last three decades.
What does this mean for aging couples and how could it affect you? Learn more about this trend, and when you’re ready for more personalized advice regarding your divorce, call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-803-3500.
Changes in Beliefs About Marriage
In recent years, societal beliefs about marriage have changed significantly. This is due in part to changes in women’s rights. While a woman could not open a line of credit without a male cosigner in 1974, women now are working in much greater numbers and enjoying more financial freedom.
This has chipped away at the idea that once you’re married, you have to stick it out for life. When people are able to support themselves without a spouse, there’s less of a reason to stay in a marriage that is unfulfilling.
Grown Children Out of the House
Couples in their 50s and older are likely to be done raising children. After decades of childrearing and going through the chaos of parenting, a surprising amount of couples find that they no longer have anything in common. If they did not put in intentional work to maintain the marital relationship, there may not be a marital relationship to return to once the kids no longer need them. This gives distant couples a natural point at which to end their marriage and start the next stage of life on their own.
Desire to Make the Most of Golden Years
People are living longer and longer. While an unhappily married couple in their 60s may have toughed it out in the past because they only had a handful of years left, a couple of that age now could have decades ahead of them. Knowing that, a lot of people are more willing to go through the transitional pains of a late-in-life divorce if they have decades of potential happiness waiting for them on the other side.
Financial Stability and Freedom
Older couples with limited income and assets may stay married simply for the financial stability that comes with marriage. However, older couples with decades of wealth built up to have less incentive to do so. When they stay married, it’s more likely to be because the marriage genuinely benefits them personally and fulfills them. On the flip side, once a marriage no longer serves one or both individuals, they are more likely to end it. If they have enough income and assets to maintain their current lifestyle, they may decide to move on alone.
What Will Happen to “Gray Divorce” Rates?
It remains to be seen how trends in “gray divorce” will evolve. In recent years, the divorce rate for younger couples has decreased. This is attributed to longer dating and engagement periods and individuals waiting until they’re of an older age to get married. Some researchers predict that people 50 and over will continue to see their divorce rate increase, peaking at three times what it was prior to 1990.
If your relationship is on the rocks, you may wonder if you’ll be part of the wave of gray divorces. If so, it’s important to plan ahead and think about what you want out of your marriage and what you want your golden years to look like. It may be time to put some hard work into marriage maintenance or time to consider whether or not divorce is the right choice for you.
Get the Legal Advice You Need from Kirk Drennan Law
Is divorce on the horizon for you? If so, don’t wait to get legal representation. The high asset divorce attorneys at Kirk Drennan Law are here to help you sort out the division of assets, spousal support, and other issues that may arise as you proceed with your divorce. Take the first step now—set up a consultation by calling us at 205-803-3500 or getting in touch with us .