Gray Divorce: What Is It & Why Is It Becoming More Common?

Mature woman hugging her husband

People at any age can file for a divorce. However, when the process comes to mind, we do not typically think of our grandparents or elders in the community separating. The rate of older individuals divorcing is actually on the rise, increasing significantly since the 1990s. There are several reasons for this increase, as well as a label for this phenomenon.

Law Offices of William L. Geary can help explain the rise in older individuals separating.

Gray Divorce

Gray divorce refers to the rise of individuals 50 and older proceeding with the divorce process. At one point, it was extremely unusual for older populations to officially separate. Instead, they might have decided to stay with their spouse, in order to avoid disrupting their daily lives. Furthermore, if children were involved, they may have decided to remain married for their stability and happiness. However, the rate of older couples separating has doubled since the ’90s. There are several reasons as to why this is occurring.

Longer Lives

One reason for the increase of gray divorce is that individuals are living much longer lives. They enter their prime at the age of 50, as well as have much more personal time away from work and other obligations. If someone is unhappy with their marriage as they are aging, they may realize that this is a factor that they can change and have plenty of time to do so.

Fewer Taboos

Back in the day, filing for a divorce was viewed as taboo in our society. However, the way we view divorce is changing. Initially, individuals would stay with their spouses in order to avoid rocking the boat. Instead of seeing it as “giving up” or “throwing in the towel”, it has more positive connotations. Individuals are making a change in their life for themselves. Instead of staying unhappy in a marriage, they are taking an opportunity to make a change that positively influences them.

New Chapter

People change as they progress through life. They enter many different stages and go through major life events. As people experience this, they may find that their relationships are not what they once were. For example, older couples may want to proceed with a divorce after their children leave the home. With an empty nest, they may not know what to do with each other, and become more cognizant of the shortfalls in their marriage.


After years of marriage, individuals may not get along with one another as they once did. As an individual changes, they may discover new aspects of their personality or identity that they want to explore. Their existing marriage may not allow them to work on themselves, especially if they do not get along with their spouse. If a couple drifts apart as they age, they may find that filing for a divorce is the best option. It allows for each individual to seek a relationship that brings them happiness.

Money Issues

Retirement and finances can bring a couple immense amounts of stress. If they have debts that they cannot handle, they may find themselves in frequent disagreements or arguments. If one individual earned more money throughout the marriage, then they may view their spouse as a burden. If this has been a longstanding issue over the course of the marriage, then these resentful feelings may build up over time, leading to a gray divorce.

Attorney William L. Geary Can Help

If you are going through a gray divorce, you deserve an experienced attorney on your side. Law Offices of William L. Geary can provide you with the guidance that you need, reducing the amount of stress in your divorce process.


Reach our office today at (614) 289-1227 to discuss your divorce case today.

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