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Home » Advice Centre » Are Divorces Over 50 On The Rise?

Are Divorces Over 50 On The Rise?

Posted on: 29 July 2022 by Goodwins Family Law Solicitors

The divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates was the latest in a string of high-profile divorces involving spouses over the age of 50. The news took much of the world by surprise, but research from Bowling Green State University suggests that divorce in one’s later years, or ‘grey divorce’ as it has been coined, is more common now than ever. Since 1990, the divorce rate of people over the age of 50 has doubled, with researchers expecting the figure to triple by 2030.

The grey divorce revolution is booming, but what has caused this sudden shift in attitude? In this article, we explain the reasons why so many couples are choosing to spend their golden years apart.

How common is grey divorce?

The term ‘grey divorce’ was coined in 2004 by the American Association of Retired Persons. It has been used countless times in research studying divorce in people over the age of 50.

Research published in the Journal of Gerontology found that over 25% of people getting divorced in the United States are above the age of 50, with over half of those divorces occurring after 20 years of marriage.

And the phenomenon isn’t restricted to the United States, either. The same trends are happening in Canada, Japan, Australia, India and even the United Kingdom. Figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics show that the divorce rate among those 65 or older has gone up 46% in a decade (2004-2014). 

Why would older people get divorced?

While rates in divorce of older couples may be on the rise, it shouldn’t be unusual to see spouses going their separate ways as they approach the retirement phase of their lives. 

With their children grown up, independent and out of the house, couples tend to re-evaluate their goals for the remaining portion of their lives. Many spouses find that their values and ambitions have changed over the years and opt for divorce in pursuit of personal happiness.

Why the sudden rise?

The past two decades have seen a dramatic shift in attitudes towards marriage, sex and equality. As society becomes less religious and more liberal, attitudes towards divorce have tempered.

  • Marriage is no longer considered the sacred institution it once was. Whereas society used to condemn those in a faltering marriage, it is now much more forgiving. Many people of the older generation no longer feel an obligation to prolong a struggling marriage.
  • Shifting attitudes to gender stereotypes and equality has led to a rise in economically independent women. No longer relying on their husband to support them, women have increasingly chosen to continue their lives on their own terms.
  • Increased life expectancy may also play a role. Despite retiring around the age of 65, many people still look forward to another 20 or 30 years ahead of them. It is at this point that they start to consider whether they truly want to spend the rest of their lives with their spouse, or whether they wish to enter into the final chapters of their lives apart.

No matter whether you’re 65 or 25, live in the UK or abroad, have a high net worth or low income, Goodwins Family Law Solicitors is here to help you through your divorce. We have a team of lawyers that specialise in various areas of divorce and family law. Working with diligence, professionalism and care, our lawyers will steer you towards a favourable outcome and help you transition into the next chapter of your life.

If you are considering a divorce, contact our team for a consultation.

Goodwins Family Law Solicitors is a registered company in England. © Goodwins Family Law Solicitors 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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