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Studies show that gray divorce is still on the rise

by | Jul 19, 2021 | Divorce

Researchers have seen the trend continue for over a decade now. Older couples are getting divorced much more often than their Millennial counterparts. The term gray divorce generally refers to divorcing couples over 50. These couples may have had a short-term second or third marriage, or they could be ending a long-term marriage.

The reasons behind gray divorce

According to a study published by the Pew Research Center, gray divorce has been on the rise since 1990. That study found a doubling of the percentage of divorces among those 50 and older. Why the rise in these types of splits? There are several contributing factors, including:

  • A change in attitudes – Many Baby Boomers went through divorce during the “divorce revolution” of the 1970s, and have since remarried. This has made the concept of divorce more acceptable to this group, and more likely to divorce again.
  • Living longer – For people in an unhappy marriage, they know they could live many years, if not decades, with their spouse. This is true of people in their 50s and older. A longer life expectancy could prompt people to reconsider their options.
  • Waiting to divorce – People often postpone their divorce until their children are out of the house. Sometimes people realize their relationship is no longer working when they no longer have their children as a focal point.

Other studies and recent statistics do not show any reversal of this trend.

Has COVID-19 played a part?

Just as the pandemic has wreaked havoc in people’s lives across the globe, it has also been linked to a rise in divorce rates, in general. Stress levels have spiked due to financial problems and isolation at home. Couples who used to have a break from each other due to work schedules have been forced to spend more time together, shining a light on problems. Couples over 50 are not immune to these stressors, although this trend began long before the pandemic.

The downsides to gray divorce

Divorcees in this age group tend to be at more financial risk than younger couples, especially women. Men tend to find their social lives also take a hit after divorce. Dividing retirements and property can be particularly complex. All people considering a gray divorce need guidance and sound legal advice throughout the process.


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